Using molecules resembling 60-sided soccer balls, a joint team of researchers from the University of Toronto and Carleton University has created a new material for processing information using light.
Led by U of T electrical and computer engineering professor Ted Sargent and Carleton University chemistry professor Wayne Wang, the team developed a material that combines microscopic spherical particles known as “buckyballs” with polyurethane, the polymer used as a coating on cars and furniture. The buckyballs, given the chemical notation C60, are clusters of 60 carbon atoms resembling soccer balls that are only a few nanometres in diameter. (A nanometre equals a billionth of a metre.)
When the mixture of polyurethane and buckyballs is used as a thin film on a flat surface, light particles travelling though the material pick up each others’ patterns. These materials have the capacity to make the delivery and processing of information in fibre-optic communications more efficient.
Nicolle Wahl | University of Toronto
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