Researchers have shown how tiny wires and metallic spheres might be arranged in various shapes to form "nanoantennas" that dramatically increase the precision of medical diagnostic imaging and devices that detect chemical and biological warfare agents.
Engineers from Purdue University have demonstrated through mathematical simulations that nanometer-scale antennas with certain geometric shapes should be able to make possible new sensors capable of detecting a single molecule of a chemical or biological agent. Such an innovation could result in detectors that are, in some cases, millions of times more sensitive than current technology.
The nanoantennas in the simulations are made of metal wires and spheres only about 10 nanometers thick – or roughly 100 atoms wide. They are an example of "left-handed" materials, meaning they are able to reverse the normal behavior of visible light and other forms of electromagnetic radiation.
Emil Venere | EurekAlert!
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