Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

World’s fastest oscillating nanomachine holds promise for telecommunications, quantum computing

09.02.2005


BU team’s nanomechanical device bridges classic and quantum physics

Nanotechnology leapt into the realm of quantum mechanics this past winter when an antenna-like sliver of silicon one-tenth the width of a human hair oscillated in a lab in a Boston University basement. With two sets of protrusions, much like the teeth from a two-sided comb or the paddles from a rowing shell, the antenna not only exhibits the first quantum nanomechanical motion but is also the world’s fastest moving nanostructure.

A team of Boston University physicists led by Assistant Professor Pritiraj Mohanty developed the nanomechanical oscillator. Operating at gigahertz speeds, the technology could help further miniaturize wireless communication devices like cell phones, which exchange information at gigahertz frequencies. But, more important to the researchers, the oscillator lies at the cusp of classic physics, what people experience everyday, and quantum physics, the behavior of the molecular world.



Comprised of 50 billion atoms, the antenna built by Mohanty’s team is so far the largest structure to display quantum mechanical movements. "It’s a truly macroscopic quantum system," says Alexei Gaidarzhy, the paper’s lead author and a graduate student in the BU College of Engineering’s Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering. The device is also the fastest of its kind, oscillating at 1.49 gigahertz, or 1.49 billion times a second, breaking the previous record of 1.02 gigahertz achieved by a nanomachine produced by another group.

According to Gaidarzhy, during the past several decades engineers have made phenomenal advances in information technology by shrinking electronic circuitry and devices to fit onto semiconductor chips. Shrinking electronic or mechanical systems further, he says, will inevitably require new paradigms involving quantum theory. For example, these mechanical/quantum mechanical hybrids could be used for quantum computing.

Because Mohanty’s nanomechanical oscillator is "large," the research team was able to attach electrical wiring to its surface in order to monitor tiny discrete quantum motion, behavior that exists in the realm of atoms and molecules.

At a certain frequency, the paddles begin to vibrate in concert, causing the central beam to move at that same high frequency, but at an increased and easily measured amplitude. Where each paddle moves only about a femtometer, roughly the diameter of an atom’s nucleus, the antenna moves over a distance of one-tenth of a picometer, a tiny distance that still translates to a 100-fold increase in amplitude.

When fabricating and testing the nanomechanical device, the researchers placed the entire apparatus, including the cryostat and monitoring devices, in a state-of-the-art, copper-walled, copper-floored room. This set-up shielded the experiment from unwanted vibration noise and electromagnetic radiation that could generate from outside electrical devices, such as cell phone signals, or even the movement of subway trains outside the building.

Even with these precautions, performing such novel experiments is tricky. "When it’s a new phenomenon, it’s best not to be guided by expectations based on conventional wisdom," says Gaidarzhy. "The philosophy here is to let the data speak for itself."

The group carries out the experiments under extremely cold conditions, at a temperature of 110 millikelvin, which is only a tenth of a degree above the absolute zero. When cooled to such a low temperature, the nanomechanical oscillator starts to jump between two discrete positions without occupying the physical space in between, a telltale sign of quantum behavior.

In addition to Gaidarzhy, Mohanty’s team consists of Guiti Zolfagharkhani, a graduate student, and Robert L. Badzey, a post-doctoral fellow in BU’s Physics Department. Their paper appears in the January 28, 2005 issue of Physical Review Letters. The research was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, Department of Defense, Petroleum Research Fund, and the Sloan Foundation.

Ann Marie Menting | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.bu.edu

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht A single photon reveals quantum entanglement of 16 million atoms
16.10.2017 | Université de Genève

nachricht On the generation of solar spicules and Alfvenic waves
16.10.2017 | Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC)

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: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

Im Focus: New nanomaterial can extract hydrogen fuel from seawater

Hybrid material converts more sunlight and can weather seawater's harsh conditions

It's possible to produce hydrogen to power fuel cells by extracting the gas from seawater, but the electricity required to do it makes the process costly. UCF...

Im Focus: Small collisions make big impact on Mercury's thin atmosphere

Mercury, our smallest planetary neighbor, has very little to call an atmosphere, but it does have a strange weather pattern: morning micro-meteor showers.

Recent modeling along with previously published results from NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft -- short for Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry and...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

Conference Week RRR2017 on Renewable Resources from Wet and Rewetted Peatlands

28.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A single photon reveals quantum entanglement of 16 million atoms

16.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

The melting ice makes the sea around Greenland less saline

16.10.2017 | Earth Sciences

On the generation of solar spicules and Alfvenic waves

16.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>