A team of scientists headed by Dr. Christoph Lienau of the Max Born Institute for Nonlinear Optics and Short Pulse Spectroscopy (MBI) in Berlin develops and utilizes novel nanoptical techniques for imaging structures that are many times smaller than the wavelength of light. The research is based on a special Scanning Near-Field Optical Microscope (SNOM), patented by MBI, providing extremely high optical resolution and flexible combination with different spectroscopic techniques. A microscope based on this patent was now built for the Research Centre Jülich (Forschungszentrum Jülich), where scientists will use it to examine optical absorption in thin nanostructured layers of silicon. These studies at the Jülich facility are aimed at increasing the efficiency of silicon-based thin-film solar cells.
“We need to know the local optical properties of the silicon structures”, says Jülich scientist Dr. Reinhard Carius. It is not sufficient to only know the morphology of the surface. Therefore, neither atomic-force microscopes nor other electron microscopes can help, because these yield information on the surface structure but only limited knowledge about their electro-magnetic properties. “The SNOM built by the colleagues at MBI allows us to investigate how light propagates in the silicon thin films”, says Carius. What’s more, the near-field microscope is highly versatile. Carius adds: “I know of no other place to get such a machine, that is why we asked the MBI to build a duplicate for us.”
So, what is it that makes scanning near-field optical microscopy so special? “We outsmart light with it”, says Dr. Christoph Lienau of the Max Born Institute. He and his colleagues have constructed the SNOM and got it patented. Lienau explains: “Normally, with visible light, one cannot image structures that are smaller than its wavelenght.” However, light can be regarded not only as a wave phenomenon but as a stream of particles as well. And these particles, called photons, go through seemingly impenetrable barriers. In quantum physics this is known as a tunneling process. “Photons are tunneling through tiny holes smaller than the wavelength of light”, explains Lienau, “and we count the photons and measure their properties.”
Dr. Christoph Lienau | alfa
Move over, lasers: Scientists can now create holograms from neutrons, too
21.10.2016 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Finding the lightest superdeformed triaxial atomic nucleus
20.10.2016 | The Henryk Niewodniczanski Institute of Nuclear Physics Polish Academy of Sciences
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...
'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.
Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine
21.10.2016 | Information Technology
21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences