Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers Demonstrate ‘Giant’ Forces in Super-Strong Nanomaterials

25.09.2012
In a study that could lead to advances in the emerging fields of optical computing and nanomaterials, researchers at Missouri University of Science and Technology report that a new class of nanoscale slot waveguides pack 100 to 1,000 times more transverse optical force than conventional silicon slot waveguides

The findings could lead to advances in developing optical computers, sensors or lasers, say researchers Dr. Jie Gao and Dr. Xiaodong Yang, both assistant professors of mechanical engineering at Missouri S&T.

In their research article, published in the Sept. 24 issue of Optics Express, Gao and Yang describe the unusual optical and mechanical properties of nanometer-scale metal-dielectric structures called metamaterials. The researchers created computer simulations of nanometer-scale models of metamaterial slot waveguides, which are structures designed to channel beams of light from one area to another. Waveguides function like tiny filaments or the wires of an integrated circuit, but on a much smaller scale.

For their study, the Missouri S&T researchers simulated slot waveguides made of layered structures of a metal (in this case, silver) and a dielectric material (germanium), arranged like the alternating bread and meat in a club sandwich. A nanometer – visible only with the aid of a high-power electron microscope – is one billionth of a meter, and some nanomaterials are only a few atoms in size.

Gao and Yang simulated what would happen with modeled identical waveguides – each 40 nanometers wide and 30 nanometers tall – that were stacked with a tiny air gap between them. They then measured the transverse optical force between the two waveguides. Optical force refers to the way beams of light can be made to attract or repel each other, as magnets do.

In their experiments on the simulated metamaterials, the Missouri S&T researchers found that “the transverse optical forces in slot waveguides of hyperbolic metamaterials can be over two orders of magnitude stronger than that in conventional dielectric slot waveguides.” For this reason, Gao and Yang describe the magnitude as “giant” in the title of their Optics Express article, “Giant transverse optical forces in nanoscale slot waveguides of hyperbolic metamaterials.”

“The calculation on realistic metal-dielectric multilayer structures indicates that the predicted giant optical forces are achievable in experiments,” the researchers explain in their Optics Express article. They add that their finding “will open the door for various optomechanical applications in nanoscale, such as optical nanoelectromechanical systems, optical sensors and actuators.”

By experimenting with materials at the nanometer level, researchers often find that even common materials exhibit unusual properties. For example, metals developed at the nanometer scale may have fewer defects and could lead to stronger materials for construction. Semiconductors and magnetic materials developed at the nanometer scale may have different properties than the bulk material.

The team also recently described the optical properties of a single metamaterial waveguide in the Journal of the Optical Society of America. The paper is titled “Nanoscale metamaterial optical waveguides with ultrahigh refractive indices” (JOSA B, Vol. 29, Issue 9, pp. 2559-2566 2012).

Earlier this year, Yang was the lead author of an article published in Nature Photonics that described how nanoscale three-dimensional optical cavities made from metamaterials can generate the most powerful nanolaser beams to date. The Nature Photonics paper described how this new class of optical cavities holds promise for other technologies, including photonic integrated circuits, LEDs, quantum optics, nonlinear optics and optical sensing.

Gao and Yang plan to move their research from modeling and simulation to actual fabrication of metamaterials. Working with the Materials Research Center at Missouri S&T, the two are able to use a focused ion beam (FIB) scanning electron microscope to modify materials being analyzed. But the two also hope to develop a nanofabrication facility at Missouri S&T.

Andrew Careaga | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.mst.edu

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht New design improves performance of flexible wearable electronics
23.06.2017 | North Carolina State University

nachricht Plant inspiration could lead to flexible electronics
22.06.2017 | American Chemical Society

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>