Using photon emissions from individual molecules of silver, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have created what may be the worlds smallest electroluminescent light source.
Believed to be the first demonstration of electroluminescence from individual molecules, the work could lead to new types of nanometer-scale optical interconnects, high-resolution optical microscopy, nanometer-scale lithography and other applications that require very small light sources. And because single molecules are known to emit one photon at a time, the technique could ultimately be the basis for high-efficiency quantum information processing and cryptography.
Though the effect was first reported in silver clusters composed of 2-8 atoms, the researchers also demonstrated electroluminescence in similarly prepared copper clusters, suggesting the effect may broadly apply to other metals. Details of the research were reported in the August 6 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
John Toon | EurekAlert!
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