Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Pitt researchers see electron waves in motion for first time

13.06.2005


New imaging technique—a trillion times faster than conventional techniques—advances field of plasmonics, could lead to better semiconductors



Both the ancient art of stained glass and the cutting-edge field of plasmonics rely on the oscillation of electrons in nanosized metal particles. When light shines on such particles, it excites the electromagnetic fields on the metal’s surface, known as "surface plasmons," and causes its electrons to oscillate in waves--producing the rich hues of stained glass.

But because electrons move nearly as fast as light, those oscillations have been difficult to observe and had never before been seen in motion. Now, in a paper published in the current issue of the journal Nano Letters, Pitt researchers have demonstrated a microscopy technique that allows the movement of the plasmons to be seen for the first time, at a resolution a trillion times better than conventional techniques.


Hrvoje Petek, professor of physics and astronomy at Pitt, and Hong Koo Kim, Pitt professor of electrical and computer engineering, codirectors of Pitt’s Institute of NanoScience and Engineering, showed in their paper, "Femtosecond Imaging of Surface Plasmon Dynamics in a Nanostructured Silver Film," that it is indeed possible to achieve high-resolution imaging through a combination of ultra-fast laser and electron optic methods. Although theoretically possible, this technique had never been demonstrated in practice.

Petek and Kim used a pair of 10-femtosecond (one quadrillionth of a second) laser pulses to induce the emission of electrons from the sample, a nanostructured thin silver film. Scanning the pulse delay, they recorded a movie of surface plasmon fields at 330 attoseconds (quintillionths of a second) per frame. The video is available online at pubs.acs.org.

Their research is a boon to the emerging field of plasmonics. Currently, semiconductor chips each contain "about a mile" of wires, said Petek. When electrons carry electrical signals through such wires they collide about every 10 nanometers (10-8 m). In part, this causes problems because the chips give off too much heat. The solution may be to send the signal as plasmon waves, which would lead to faster chips and less dissipation of energy, Petek said.

Karen Hoffmann | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.pitt.edu

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers
20.09.2017 | American Institute of Physics

nachricht New quantum phenomena in graphene superlattices
19.09.2017 | Graphene Flagship

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: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

Im Focus: Fast, convenient & standardized: New lab innovation for automated tissue engineering & drug

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...

Im Focus: Silencing bacteria

HZI researchers pave the way for new agents that render hospital pathogens mute

Pathogenic bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics to an ever increasing degree. One of the most difficult germs is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Molecular Force Sensors

20.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Producing electricity during flight

20.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

20.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>