Yale Researchers Build Nano-sized Cantilever that Bends with Light

May 04 2009 / by Garry Golden
Category: Energy   Year: General   Rating: 2

Yale nano leverCreating devices that can manipulate and interact with light (photons) is not an easy feat, but the potential pay off is tremendous as we consider the wide-reaching applications of nano-photonics

Electronics to Photonics
The past fifty years of technological innovation have been shaped largely by our ability to manipulate the flow of electrons inside 'microscale' sized transistor chips based on the science of micro-electronics

In the next fifty years we will open up new opportunities across a range of industries based on 'nanoscale' design of optical devices that use light instead of electrons!  

These nano-optical devices are likely to be applied to a range of energy related applications from low power consumption-high performance chips. new lighting and display systems, and solar cells.

Nano-optical devices are also useful in the study of molecules involved in materials used in batteries and fuel cells as well as the study of biochemical systems around algae-based bioenergy systems. 

A Breakthrough in Bending with Photons
In April, Yale University researchers announced that they have built a silicon-based nanocantilever sensor that can detect as little deflection as 0.0001 Angstroms — one ten thousandth of the size of an atom. 

The team's work could lead to a wide range of low cost, low energy consuming, nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS) built around these tiny 'springboards' that "bend" when molecules "jump" on them and register a change that can be measured and calibrated.

"The system we developed is the most sensitive available that works at room temperature. Previously this level of sensitivity could only be achieved at extreme low temperatures" said Assistant Professor Hong Tang in the Yale School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

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Funding for the research was from a Yale Institute for Nanoscience and Quantum Engineering seed grant, a National Science Foundation career award, and the Alexander-von-Humboldt postdoctoral fellowship programs.

Citation: Nature Nanotechnology: Advance Online Publication April 26, 2009 

 

Image Source
Caption:
 This image shows the electronmicroscopic image of array (top) and simulation of lightwaves through array (bottom).

Credit: Li, Pernice,Tang / Yale

 

 

Source: Eureka Alert 

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