Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energys Argonne National Laboratory have found that gold "shines" in a different way at the nanoscale, and the insights may lead to new optical chips for computers or for switches and routers in fiber networks.
The nanoscale refers to a size one-billionth of a meter, or about 70,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair. Materials that small exhibit entirely different properties from conventional materials. Specifically, temperature, electricity and magnetism are completely different from that of conventional materials, and could form the basis of new technologies.
The Argonne researchers examined the characteristics of photoluminescence – the emission of light when electrons are stimulated -- in gold nanorods, and found that they could control the wavelength of the light emitted by the material, making it possible to use as a light source inside an optical chip, allowing transmission of information through light. "The light emitted is dependent on the shape of the gold nanorods," said Gary Wiederrecht, Argonne scientist and leader of the research team.
Catherine Foster | EurekAlert!
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