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 Transportable laser
23.01.2018 | Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB)

nachricht New for three types of extreme-energy space particles: Theory shows unified origin
23.01.2018 | Penn State

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: Optical Nanoscope Allows Imaging of Quantum Dots

Physicists have developed a technique based on optical microscopy that can be used to create images of atoms on the nanoscale. In particular, the new method allows the imaging of quantum dots in a semiconductor chip. Together with colleagues from the University of Bochum, scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute reported the findings in the journal Nature Photonics.

Microscopes allow us to see structures that are otherwise invisible to the human eye. However, conventional optical microscopes cannot be used to image...

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rutgers scientists discover 'Legos of life'

23.01.2018 | Life Sciences

Seabed mining could destroy ecosystems

23.01.2018 | Earth Sciences

Transportable laser

23.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>