Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers create new nanotechnology field

31.05.2007
A University of Alberta research team has combined two fields of study in nanotechnology to create a third field that the researchers believe will lead to revolutionary advances in computer electronics, among many other areas.

Dr. Abdulhakem Elezzabi and his colleagues have applied plasmonics principles to spintronics technology and created a novel way to control the quantum state of an electron's spin.

The new technology, which the researchers call spinplasmonics, may be used to create incredibly efficient electron spin-based photonic devices, which in turn may be used to build, for example, computers with extraordinary capacities.

"We've only just begun to scratch the surface of this field, but we believe we have the physics sorted out and one day this technology will be used to develop very fast, very small electronics that have a very low power consumption," said Elezzabi, the Canada Research Chair in Ultrafast Photonics and Nano-Optics and an electrical and computer engineering professor at the U of A.

Elezzabi's work addresses a number of challenges that, to this point, have hindered further advancement in computer electronics, such as in the creation of smaller devices. One such challenge is that as traditional, silicon-based semiconductor devices approach the nanoscale, the laws of quantum physics take control over their performance (specifically the flow of charges—i.e. electrons) and render them inoperable.

Researchers in the field of spintronics have tried to address this problem by building metal-based devices that harness the magnetic quantum properties of the spin of electrons. Although the spintronics field is barely a dozen years-old, some devices that incorporate spintronics technology are already on the market.

The field of plasmonics, which is even younger than spintronics, involves the transfer of light electromagnetic energy into a tiny volume, thus creating intense electric fields—a phenomenon that has many scientists rethinking the laws of electromagnetics on a nanoscale. The plasmonics field has many wide-ranging applications, from guiding light through metal wires, to bio-sensing, to making objects invisible to the eye.

One of the main challenges for plasmonics researchers is finding a way to propagate light over a long distance through solid materials. However, Elezzabi and his colleagues, U of A graduate student Kenneth Chau and Dr. Mark Johnson of the U. S. Naval Research Laboratory, have successfully combined plasmonics and spintronics in a way that puts plasmonics in a new light, and puts a new spin on spintronics.

Working with gold and cobalt samples, Elezzabi and his team were able to demonstrate a plasmonically-activated spintronic device that switches light on and off by controlling electron spins. Also, they believe that with a slight alteration of the sample structure the effect is non-volatile, meaning that any given result can be maintained indefinitely without the necessity of a power source.

"With the development of this technology I envision a move from semiconductors [silicon chips] to metal based electronics with light-driven circuits," Elezzabi said.

The research was published recently in the academic journal Physical Review Letters, and the researchers have filed for a patent for the applications they have developed.

"To me this is almost a natural evolution of the two fields. I'm actually surprised that no one else looked around and saw what others were doing and combined the two before we did," Elezzabi added. "This opens up a lot of possibilities; this is just the beginning."

Ryan Smith | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ualberta.ca

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab
15.08.2018 | American Institute of Physics

nachricht Early opaque universe linked to galaxy scarcity
15.08.2018 | University of California - Riverside

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: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

Im Focus: Lining up surprising behaviors of superconductor with one of the world's strongest magnets

Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur

What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

2018 Work Research Conference

25.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

15.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Diving robots find Antarctic winter seas exhale surprising amounts of carbon dioxide

15.08.2018 | Earth Sciences

Early opaque universe linked to galaxy scarcity

15.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>