Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers develop nanoscale fibers that are thinner than the wavelengths of light they carry

18.12.2003


Researchers have developed a process to create wires only 50 nanometers (billionths of a meter) thick. Made from silica, the same mineral found in quartz, the wires carry light in an unusual way. Because the wires are thinner than the wavelengths of light they transport, the material serves as a guide around which light waves flow. In addition, because the researchers can fabricate the wires with a uniform diameter and smooth surfaces down to the atomic level, the light waves remain coherent as they travel.



The smaller fibers will allow devices to transmit more information while using less space. The new material may have applications in ever-shrinking medical products and tiny photonics equipment such as nanoscale laser systems, tools for communications and sensors. Size is of critical importance to sensing--with more, smaller-diameter fibers packed into the same area, sensors could detect many toxins, for example, at once and with greater precision and accuracy.

Researchers at Harvard University led by Eric Mazur and Limin Tong (also of Zhejiang University in China), along with colleagues from Tohoku University in Japan, report their findings in the Dec. 18, 2003, issue of the journal Nature.


The National Science Foundation (NSF), a pioneer among federal agencies in fostering the development of nanoscale science, engineering and technology, supports Mazur’s work. In FY 2004, NSF requested an expansion over earlier investments in critical fields including nanobiotechnology, manufacturing at the nanoscale, instrumentation and education. These efforts will enable development of revolutionary technologies that contribute to improvements in health, advance agriculture, conserve materials and energy and sustain the environment. The research will help to establish the infrastructure and workforce needed to exploit the opportunities presented by nanoscale science and engineering.

NSF comments regarding the research discovery and the Mazur group:

"Dr. Mazur’s group at Harvard has made significant contributions to the fields of optics and short-pulse laser micromachining," says Julie Chen, program director in NSF’s Nanomanufacturing program. "This new method of manufacturing subwavelength-diameter silica wires, in concert with the research group’s ongoing efforts in micromachining, may lead to a further reduction of the size of optical and photonic devices."

"Dr. Mazur is involved in exciting, broader applications for short-pulse laser research, including microsurgery, such as laser eye surgery and dermatology, and studies of neurons in microscopic nematodes," says Julie Chen, program director in NSF’s Nanomanufacturing program.

"Dr. Mazur is also extensively involved in education and outreach activities, with several high school and undergraduate students conducting research and many other middle school and high school students participating in laboratory visits," says Julie Chen, program director in NSF’s Nanomanufacturing program.

"The multidisciplinary nature of the Mazur group’s work offers an excellent training vehicle to move into other areas of research," says Denise Caldwell, one of the officers who monitors Mazur’s awards. "One researcher I met at a Physics Frontiers center was able to successfully transition from plasma physics graduate research in Mazur’s lab to a post-doctoral project on experimental neuroscience," she adds. Caldwell is a program director in NSF’s Physics Frontiers program.

"He has been a national leader in developing techniques for using interactive teaching in large physics lecture courses and in developing tools to measure student learning in physics," says Duncan McBride, Program Director in NSF’s Education and Human Resources Directorate. Dr. Mazur’s work integrates research and education, and in 2001 he received the NSF Director’s award for Distinguished Teaching Scholars.

Comment from Mazur regarding outreach:

"I have always been of the opinion that doing good science requires being a good educator," says Mazur. "What good is a scientific breakthrough if one cannot convince the public, let alone another scientist of its value?"

Josh Chamot | NSF
Further information:
http://mazur-www.harvard.edu
http://www.fastlane.nsf.gov/servlet/showaward?award=0117795
http://www.nsf.gov

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht Researchers invent process to make sustainable rubber, plastics
25.04.2017 | University of Delaware

nachricht Nanoimprinted hyperlens array: Paving the way for practical super-resolution imaging
24.04.2017 | Pohang University of Science & Technology (POSTECH)

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

NASA's Fermi catches gamma-ray flashes from tropical storms

25.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers invent process to make sustainable rubber, plastics

25.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Transfecting cells gently – the LZH presents a GNOME prototype at the Labvolution 2017

25.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>