The new device is at least 10 times more sensitive than existing technology, researchers say, can be tuned to sense different types of materials and is easy to make in differing sizes for individual needs. It's one of the first real applications of "metamaterials" – artificial materials that have unusual properties based on their structure, which are not readily available in nature.
The findings were announced today in Nature Materials, a professional journal. Collaborators on the project included OSU, the Universite de Mediterranee in France, Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal in Canada, and the Queen's University of Belfast in the United Kingdom. The research was supported by the National Science Foundation and other agencies.
"This is very exciting," said Viktor Podolskiy, an associate professor of physics at OSU. "It's an important new application of nanotechnology and the field of metamaterials, and should find some significant uses in medicine, chemistry and physics."
The new material is made primarily from gold, but given the minuscule size of the device, the high cost of gold is actually of little importance – and the use of gold aids its performance, because this rare metal is very inert and doesn't interact with biological or many other molecules. The device is a little like the bristles that stick up on a hairbrush, but in this case the bristles are only about 20 nanometers wide – it would take 5,000 such bristles to be the width of a human hair.
Using this device and various optical techniques, sensors can determine very precisely the identity and amount of various substances, including extremely small compounds such as drugs, vitamins or hormones. The concept should find near-term applications in medicine and other fields, scientists say.
Viktor Podolskiy | Newswise Science News
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InLight study: insights into chemical processes using light
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In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
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In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
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The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
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