Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

’Buckyball’ Material Brings Light into Line

15.09.2003


Using molecules resembling 60-sided soccer balls, a joint team of researchers from the University of Toronto and Carleton University has created a new material for processing information using light.



Led by U of T electrical and computer engineering professor Ted Sargent and Carleton University chemistry professor Wayne Wang, the team developed a material that combines microscopic spherical particles known as “buckyballs” with polyurethane, the polymer used as a coating on cars and furniture. The buckyballs, given the chemical notation C60, are clusters of 60 carbon atoms resembling soccer balls that are only a few nanometres in diameter. (A nanometre equals a billionth of a metre.)

When the mixture of polyurethane and buckyballs is used as a thin film on a flat surface, light particles travelling though the material pick up each others’ patterns. These materials have the capacity to make the delivery and processing of information in fibre-optic communications more efficient.


“In our high-optical-quality films, light interacts 10-to-100 times more strongly with itself, for all wavelengths used in optical fibre communications, than in previously reported C60-based materials,” says Sargent, a professor at U of T’s Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “We’ve also shown for the first time that we can meet commercial engineering requirements: the films perform well at 1550 nanometres, the wavelength used to communicate information over long distances.”

Light—made up of particles called photons—is widely used in fibre-optic networks to communicate trillions of bits of information each second over long distances. At the moment, these fast and free-flowing signals are difficult to harness. The new material is described in a study in the Sept. 15 issue of Applied Physics Letters.

“The key to making this powerful signal-processing material was to master the chemistry of linking together the buckyballs and the polymer,” says Wang, Canada Research Chair in Emerging Organic Materials at Carleton University in Ottawa.

According to Sargent, the Nortel Networks-Canada Research Chair in Emerging Technologies, “this work proves that ‘designer molecules’ synthesized using nanotechnology can have powerful implications for future generations of computing and communications networks.”

The research was supported by the Ontario Research and Development Challenge Fund, Nortel Networks, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Canada Research Chairs Foundation, the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Ontario Innovation Trust.


CONTACT:

Ted Sargent
Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
416-946-5051
ted.sargent@utoronto.ca

Nicolle Wahl
U of T Public Affairs
416-978-6974
nicolle.wahl@utoronto.ca





Nicolle Wahl | University of Toronto
Further information:
http://www.utoronto.ca

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht Move over, Superman! NIST method sees through concrete to detect early-stage corrosion
27.04.2017 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

nachricht Control of molecular motion by metal-plated 3-D printed plastic pieces
27.04.2017 | Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Bare bones: Making bones transparent

27.04.2017 | Life Sciences

Study offers new theoretical approach to describing non-equilibrium phase transitions

27.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

From volcano's slope, NASA instrument looks sky high and to the future

27.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>