Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Bringing Fiber Optics to Electronic Components

30.04.2014

Chemist developing next-generation material

Fiber optics increased the speed and quantity of information that can be transmitted through the Internet by transforming electrical signals into pulsating light.


Photo by Eric Landwehr

The thin-film material in assistant professor Cheng Zhang’s hands may be the key to making fiber-optic components for computers and other electronic devices.

The same can be done within laptops and other devices by using organic materials containing chromophore as an active compound, according to South Dakota State University materials chemist Cheng Zhang. Components made from this organic material can provide a larger bandwidth and draw less power.

Zhang began working on electro-optical chromophores while earning his doctorate at the University of Southern California. In 2000, he and chemistry professor Larry Dalton developed the first electro-optical chromophore CLD1. The ‘C’ in the name stands for Cheng, while the LD is for Larry Dalton, he explained. The material was patented by Pacific Wave Communications, LLC, and sold by Sigma Aldrich.

Zhang has continued his work on chromophore since coming to SDSU in 2011 as an assistant professor in the chemistry and biochemistry department through support from the South Dakota Board of Regents.

Microscopic material
To create the material, chromophore—an organic compound that has color—is suspended in a soft yet tough material called a polymer, according to Zhang. A coating of this material is then typically placed on a glass or silicon substrate, much like making solar panels, and then used to make electro-optical devices, he explained. Using a polymer makes the resulting device easier to integrate with electronic circuitry.

The bipolar chromophores Zhang is developing are only 3 nanometers long--barely visible under the best electronic microscope. “The diameter of a human hair is about 20,000 times the length of a bi-polar chromophore,” he noted.

Insulating rings
These bi-polar chromophores act like magnets. When the tiny rods get too close together, they flip and stick together, Zhang explained. An electric field is applied to align the poles in the same direction; however, the more chromophores that are loaded into the material, the more difficult this becomes.

“This fundamental problem limits the concentration of chromophore that can be loaded into the polymer,” Zhang said.

His research work seeks to solve this problem by creating a protective ring around a portion of each rod to keep them apart. This may “prevent the formation of tight aggregates even at the highest concentration,” Zhang said.

He demonstrated this on the first ring-protected chromophore, PCR1, and is applying the strategy to current state-of-the-art chromophores.

Chromophore bleaching
When more rods are packed into the material, a new problem has emerged, according to Zhang. The material becomes too conductive, so when the current is applied to align the dipole, the chromophores burn out and die.

To solve the new problem, Zhang has added more insulating rings. If this effort is successful, the resulting material will have a higher electro-optic activity level, which will improve the material’s performance.

According to the industry standard, electro-optical materials should be able to withstand 185 degrees Fahrenheit for 2,000 hours while maintaining at least 90 percent of the initial activity. Designing this electro-optic material involves a trade-off between its thermal stability and electro-optic activity.

“If you improve one property, the other property gets sacrificed,” he said, “but we have to come up with a novel idea to minimize the trade-off.”

About South Dakota State University
Founded in 1881, South Dakota State University is the state’s Morrill Act land-grant institution as well as its largest, most comprehensive school of higher education. SDSU confers degrees from eight different colleges representing more than 175 majors, minors and specializations. The institution also offers 29 master’s degree programs, 13 Ph.D. and two professional programs.

The work of the university is carried out on a residential campus in Brookings, at sites in Sioux Falls, Pierre and Rapid City, and through Cooperative Extension offices and Agricultural Experiment Station research sites across the state.

Cheng Zhang | newswise
Further information:
http://www.sdstate.edu

Further reports about: Electronic LLC SDSU chromophore concentration initial materials

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht 3-D printing produces cartilage from strands of bioink
27.06.2016 | Penn State

nachricht Nanoscientists develop the 'ultimate discovery tool'
24.06.2016 | Northwestern University

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Optical lenses, hardly larger than a human hair

3D printing enables the smalles complex micro-objectives

3D printing revolutionized the manufacturing of complex shapes in the last few years. Using additive depositing of materials, where individual dots or lines...

Im Focus: Flexible OLED applications arrive

R2D2, a joint project to analyze and development high-TRL processes and technologies for manufacture of flexible organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has been successfully completed.

In contrast to point light sources like LEDs made of inorganic semiconductor crystals, organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) are light-emitting surfaces. Their...

Im Focus: Unexpected flexibility found in odorant molecules

High resolution rotational spectroscopy reveals an unprecedented number of conformations of an odorant molecule – a new world record!

In a recent publication in the journal Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter...

Im Focus: 3-D printing produces cartilage from strands of bioink

Strands of cow cartilage substitute for ink in a 3D bioprinting process that may one day create cartilage patches for worn out joints, according to a team of engineers. "Our goal is to create tissue that can be used to replace large amounts of worn out tissue or design patches," said Ibrahim T. Ozbolat, associate professor of engineering science and mechanics. "Those who have osteoarthritis in their joints suffer a lot. We need a new alternative treatment for this."

Cartilage is a good tissue to target for scale-up bioprinting because it is made up of only one cell type and has no blood vessels within the tissue. It is...

Im Focus: First experimental quantum simulation of particle physics phenomena

Physicists in Innsbruck have realized the first quantum simulation of lattice gauge theories, building a bridge between high-energy theory and atomic physics. In the journal Nature, Rainer Blatt‘s and Peter Zoller’s research teams describe how they simulated the creation of elementary particle pairs out of the vacuum by using a quantum computer.

Elementary particles are the fundamental buildings blocks of matter, and their properties are described by the Standard Model of particle physics. The...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Conference ‘GEO BON’ Wants to Close Knowledge Gaps in Global Biodiversity

28.06.2016 | Event News

ERES 2016: The largest conference in the European real estate industry

09.06.2016 | Event News

Networking 4.0: International Laser Technology Congress AKL’16 Shows New Ways of Cooperations

24.05.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Building a better battery

29.06.2016 | Life Sciences

New way out: Researchers show how stem cells exit bloodstream

29.06.2016 | Life Sciences

Crucial peatlands carbon-sink vulnerable to rising sea levels

29.06.2016 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>