"If plasmonics are realized, the future will have circuits as small as the current electronic ones with a capacity a million times better," said Tony Jun Huang, James Henderson assistant professor of Engineering Science and Mechanics. "Plasmonics combines the speed and capacity of photonic -- light based -- circuits with the small size of electronic circuits."
Currently, electronic circuits can be made very small, but they are limited by their capacity and the speed that information can travel in the circuits. Optical circuits send information at the speed of light, but the size is large, limited by the light's wavelength. Plasmonics combines the best of electronic and optical circuits and can transmit electrons and light at the same time using the surface of the device.
Huang's team created a plasmonic switch from switchable bistable rotaxanes. Rotaxanes are complex molecules that consist of a dumbbell shape with a ring or rings encircling the shaft and are sometimes called molecular machines. The ring can either move from one end of the barbell to the other or rotate around the shaft. Changes in molecular shape are the basis of the plasmonic switch.
Computers, in their simplest form, are machines that can say yes or no multiple times to transfer information. The motion of a molecule can serve the same purpose as the on off switch on a light.
The researchers attached their molecular machines to gold-coated nanodiscs fabricated on glass. The machines were attached with disulfide functional groups. The dumbbell shaped molecules have two areas of the shaft primed with two different chemicals. The ring is initially drawn to circle at one primed area. When the chemical there is oxidized, the ring is repelled and moves to the other primed area, flipping the switch. The process is reversible, so the ring returns to its original state to switch on again later. When the molecule moves, it changes the surface plasmon resonance in that tiny area of the metal where it is attached. This change in resonance is what would send the signal on the circuit. The plasmonic switch that Huang and his team developed is not yet part of a circuit.
"Plasmonic circuits have not yet been achieved," said Huang. "In the past, the plasmonic devices made were all passive." These devices were used as light sources, lenses and waveguides
Huang's switches are activated by a chemical process, however, this is not the optimal choice for a working circuit.
"We believe that the chemically-driven redox process can be replaced with direct electrical or optical stimulation, a logical development that would establish a technological basis for the production of a new class of molecular-machine-based active plasmonic components for solid-state nanophotonic integrated circuits with the potential for low-energy and ultra small operations," the researchers state in a recent issue of Nano Letters.
In essence, plasmonic devices would allow computers to get faster and have more memory storage in smaller spaces. Storage of as much as 1,000 movies on a typical USB drive would be possible. Huang suggests that applications like YouTube, which are very popular but have terrible resolution, could become places to see high-resolution images.
"We are in the very beginning of this field," said Huang. "Creation of a plasmonic circuit is probably five years away."
A'ndrea Elyse Messer | EurekAlert!
Further reports about: > Molecular Target > Molecular machines > Plasmonic > Rotaxanes > capacity of photonic > electronic circuits > electronically-based systems > gold-coated nanodiscs > light source > low-energy and ultra small operations > next generation of computers > optically-based systems > plasmonic nanoswitches > switchable bistable rotaxanes
Hamburg and Kiel researchers observe spontaneous occurrence of skyrmions in atomically thin cobalt films
23.08.2019 | Universität Hamburg
Building an atomic-scale vacuum trap for spin-polarized electrons
23.08.2019 | University of Hamburg Sonderforschungsbereich 668
Since their experimental discovery, magnetic skyrmions - tiny magnetic knots - have moved into the focus of research. Scientists from Hamburg and Kiel have now been able to show that individual magnetic skyrmions with a diameter of only a few nanometres can be stabilised in magnetic metal films even without an external magnetic field. They report on their discovery in the journal Nature Communications.
The existence of magnetic skyrmions as particle-like objects was predicted 30 years ago by theoretical physicists, but could only be proven experimentally in...
Theoretical physicists at Trinity College Dublin are among an international collaboration that has built the world's smallest engine - which, as a single calcium ion, is approximately ten billion times smaller than a car engine.
Work performed by Professor John Goold's QuSys group in Trinity's School of Physics describes the science behind this tiny motor.
Together with the University of Innsbruck, the ETH Zurich and Interactive Fully Electrical Vehicles SRL, Infineon Austria is researching specific questions on the commercial use of quantum computers. With new innovations in design and manufacturing, the partners from universities and industry want to develop affordable components for quantum computers.
Ion traps have proven to be a very successful technology for the control and manipulation of quantum particles. Today, they form the heart of the first...
Experimental progress towards engineering quantized gauge fields coupled to ultracold matter promises a versatile platform to tackle problems ranging from condensed-matter to high-energy physics
The interaction between fields and matter is a recurring theme throughout physics. Classical cases such as the trajectories of one celestial body moving in the...
Soft robots have a distinct advantage over their rigid forebears: they can adapt to complex environments, handle fragile objects and interact safely with humans. Made from silicone, rubber or other stretchable polymers, they are ideal for use in rehabilitation exoskeletons and robotic clothing. Soft bio-inspired robots could one day be deployed to explore remote or dangerous environments.
Most soft robots are actuated by rigid, noisy pumps that push fluids into the machines' moving parts. Because they are connected to these bulky pumps by tubes,...
16.08.2019 | Event News
14.08.2019 | Event News
12.08.2019 | Event News
23.08.2019 | Medical Engineering
23.08.2019 | Power and Electrical Engineering
23.08.2019 | Life Sciences