Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Trapping a rainbow: Lehigh researchers slow broadband light waves with nanoplasmonic structures

15.03.2011
A team of electrical engineers and chemists at Lehigh University have experimentally verified the "rainbow" trapping effect, demonstrating that plasmonic structures can slow down light waves over a broad range of wavelengths.

The idea that a rainbow of broadband light could be slowed down or stopped using plasmonic structures has only recently been predicted in theoretical studies of metamaterials. The Lehigh experiment employed focused ion beams to mill a series of increasingly deeper, nanosized grooves into a thin sheet of silver.

By focusing light along this plasmonic structure, this series of grooves or nano-gratings slowed each wavelength of optical light, essentially capturing each individual color of the visible spectrum at different points along the grating. The findings hold promise for improved data storage, optical data processing, solar cells, bio sensors and other technologies.

While the notion of slowing light or trapping a rainbow sounds like ad speak, finding practical ways to control photons—the particles that makes up light— could significantly improve the capacity of data storage systems and speed the processing of optical data.

The research required the ability to engineer a metallic surface to produce nanoscale periodic gratings with varying groove depths. This alters the optical properties of the nanopatterned metallic surface, called Surface Dispersion Engineering. The broadband surface light waves are then trapped along this plasmonic metallic surface with each wavelength trapped at a different groove depth, resulting in a trapped rainbow of light.

Through direct optical measurements, the team showed that light of different wavelengths in the 500-700nm region was "trapped" at different positions along the grating, consistent with computer simulations. To prepare the nanopattern gratings required "milling" 150nm wide rectangular grooves every 520nm along the surface of a 300-nm-thick silver sheet. While intrinsic metal loss on the surface of the metal did not permit the complete "stopping" of these plasmons, future research may look into compensating this loss in an effort to stop light altogether.

"Metamaterials, which are man-made materials with feature sizes smaller than the wavelength of light, offer novel applications in nanophotonics, photovoltaic devices, and biosensors on a chip," said Filbert J. Bartoli, principal investigator, professor and chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. "Creating such nanoscale patterns on a metal film allows us to control and manipulate light propogation. The findings of this paper present an unambiguous experimental demonstration of rainbow trapping in plasmonic nanostructures, and represents an important step in this direction."

"This technology for slowing light at room temperature can be integrated with other materials and components, which could lead to novel platforms for optical circuits. The ability of surface plasmons to concentrate light within nanoscale dimensions makes them very promising for the development of biosensors on chip and the study of nonlinear optical interactions," said Qiaoqiang Gan, who completed this work while a doctoral candidate at Lehigh University, and is now an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering , State University of New York at Buffalo.

The study was conducted by Bartoli, Qiaoqiang Gan, Yongkang Gao and Yujie J. Ding of the Center for Optical Technologies in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Lehigh University; and Kyle Wagner and Dmitri V. Vezenov of the Department of Chemistry at Lehigh.

The study was funded by the National Science Foundation. It is published in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

JordanReese | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.lehigh.edu

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Study offers new theoretical approach to describing non-equilibrium phase transitions
27.04.2017 | DOE/Argonne National Laboratory

nachricht SwRI-led team discovers lull in Mars' giant impact history
26.04.2017 | Southwest Research Institute

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: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>