Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

High-precision control of nanoparticles for digital applications

18.08.2015

For the first time ever, researchers have succeeded in creating arrangements of colloids – tiny particles suspended in a solution – and, importantly, they have managed to control their motion with high precision and speed. Thanks to this new technique developed by scientists at the University of Zurich, colloidal nanoparticles may play a role in digital technologies of the future. Nanoparticles can be rapidly displaced, require little energy and their small footprint offers large storage capacity – all these attributes make them well suited to new data storage applications or high-resolution displays.

Colloids are minute particles that are finely distributed throughout a liquid. Suspensions of colloidal particles are most familiar to us as beverages, cosmetics and paints. At a diameter in the range of ten to one hundred nanometres, a single such particle is invisible to the naked eye. These nanoparticles are constantly in motion due to the principle of Brownian motion.


A nanorod is switched between two states – bright (high signal) and dark (low signal) by an external electrical pulse (red trace). The state of the rod can be readout instantaneously at any time using polarized light. The rod stores the most recently written state until the arrival of the next «write pulse». (Image: UZH)

Since the particles are electrically charged, they experience forces of attraction and repulsion that can be harnessed to control and manipulate their behavior. In experiments carried out five years ago, Madhavi Krishnan, Professor of Physical Chemistry at the University of Zurich, succeeded in the controlled spatial manipulation of matter on the nanometer scale.

In a new study, she and her colleagues have now demonstrated that it is not only possible to spatially confine nanoparticles, but also to control their position and orientation in time and to do so in a liquid, without using physical contact.


Manipulation using electrical and optical signals

The UZH researchers have developed a method that makes it possible to create nanostructures and manipulate them in a flexible way. They were able to organise the tiny particles into new structures with the utmost precision and then to manipulate their motion. «Manipulation is made possible by the interaction with electrical and optical fields», explains Madhavi Krishnan. This new approach using intermolecular interactions at room termperature does not require ultracold temperatures. The new technology also offers extremely fast and low-friction operation.


Smaller, faster and with more storage capacity

This technique for arranging and manipulating colloid motion makes it possible to develop completely new materials and devices. «Nanoparticles possess properties that are very useful for digital technologies, and each individual particle can now be used to store and retrieve data», explains Madhavi Krishnan. The targeted manipulation of individual nanoparticles opens up new options for their application, including in future data storage media or in displays with resolutions that have thus far been hard to attain. «This makes possible displays along the lines of the Kindle reader with a pixel size that is thousand-times smaller and a much faster response time» the scientist explains.


References

Christopher J. Myers, Michele Celebrano and Madhavi Krishnan. Information storage and retrieval in a single levitating colloidal particle. Nature Nanotechnology, August 17, 2015.

doi: 10.1038/nnano.2015.173

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.mediadesk.uzh.ch/articles_en.html

Evelyne Brönnimann | Universität Zürich

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Study offers new theoretical approach to describing non-equilibrium phase transitions
27.04.2017 | DOE/Argonne National Laboratory

nachricht SwRI-led team discovers lull in Mars' giant impact history
26.04.2017 | Southwest Research Institute

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

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

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | 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

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>