Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Tiny antennas let long light waves see in infrared

24.09.2013
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign researchers have developed arrays of tiny nano-antennas that can enable sensing of molecules that resonate in the infrared (IR) spectrum.

“The identification of molecules by sensing their unique absorption resonances is very important for environmental monitoring, industrial process control and military applications,” said team leader Daniel Wasserman, a professor of electrical and computer engineering. Wasserman is also a part of the Micro and Nano Technology Laboratory at Illinois.

The food and pharmaceutical industries use light to detect contaminants and to ensure quality. The light interacts with the bonds in the molecules, which resonate at particular frequencies, giving each molecule a “spectral fingerprint.” Many molecules and materials more strongly resonate in the IR end of the spectrum, which has very long wavelengths of light – often larger than the molecules themselves.

“The absorption signatures of some of the molecules of interest for these applications can be quite weak, and as we move to nano-scale materials, it can be very difficult to see absorption from volumes smaller than the wavelength of light,” Wasserman said. “It is here that our antenna array surfaces could have a significant impact.”

Other nano-scale antenna systems cannot be tuned to a longer light wavelength because of the limitations of traditional nanoantenna materials. The Illinois team used highly doped semiconductors, grown by a technique called molecular beam epitaxy that is used to make IR lasers and detectors.

“We have shown that nanostructures fabricated from highly doped semiconductors act as antennas in the infrared,” said Stephanie Law, a postdoctoral researcher at Illinois and the lead author of the work. “The antennas concentrate this very long wavelength light into ultra-subwavelength volumes, and can be used to sense molecules with very weak absorption resonances.”

The semiconductor antenna arrays allow long-wavelength light to strongly interact with nano-scale samples, so the arrays could enhance the detection of small volumes of materials with a standard IR spectrometer – already a commonplace piece of equipment in many industrial and research labs.

The researchers further demonstrated their ability to control the position and strength of the antenna resonance by adjusting the nanoantenna dimensions and the semiconductor material properties.

The group will continue to explore new shapes and structures to further enhance light-matter interaction at very small scales and to potentially integrate these materials with other sensing systems.

“We are looking to integrate these antenna structures with optoelectronic devices to make more efficient, smaller, optoelectronic components for sensing and security applications,” Wasserman said.

Editor’s notes: To reach Daniel Wasserman, call 217-333-9872; email dwass@illinois.edu.

The paper, “All-Semiconductor Plasmonic Nanoantennas for Infrared Sensing,” is available online or from the U. of I. News Bureau.

Liz Ahlberg | University of Illinois
Further information:
http://www.illinois.edu

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion
16.11.2018 | University of New Hampshire

nachricht NASA keeps watch over space explosions
16.11.2018 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

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: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Purdue cancer identity technology makes it easier to find a tumor's 'address'

16.11.2018 | Health and Medicine

Good preparation is half the digestion

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Microscope measures muscle weakness

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>