Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > World's fastest oscillating nanomachine holds promise

Abstract:
BU teamís nanomechanical device bridges classic and quantum physics

World's fastest oscillating nanomachine holds promise for telecommunications, quantum computing

Boston, MD | February 9, 2005

Nanotechnology leapt into the realm of quantum mechanics this past winter when an antenna-like sliver of silicon one-tenth the width of a human hair oscillated in a lab in a Boston University basement. With two sets of protrusions, much like the teeth from a two-sided comb or the paddles from a rowing shell, the antenna not only exhibits the first quantum nanomechanical motion but is also the world's fastest moving nanostructure.

A team of Boston University physicists led by Assistant Professor Pritiraj Mohanty developed the nanomechanical oscillator. Operating at gigahertz speeds, the technology could help further miniaturize wireless communication devices like cell phones, which exchange information at gigahertz frequencies. But, more important to the researchers, the oscillator lies at the cusp of classic physics, what people experience everyday, and quantum physics, the behavior of the molecular world.

Comprised of 50 billion atoms, the antenna built by Mohanty's team is so far the largest structure to display quantum mechanical movements.

"It's a truly macroscopic quantum system," says Alexei Gaidarzhy, the paper's lead author and a graduate student in the BU College of Engineering's Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering. The device is also the fastest of its kind, oscillating at 1.49 gigahertz, or 1.49 billion times a second, breaking the previous record of 1.02 gigahertz achieved by a nanomachine produced by another group.

According to Gaidarzhy, during the past several decades engineers have made phenomenal advances in information technology by shrinking electronic circuitry and devices to fit onto semiconductor chips. Shrinking electronic or mechanical systems further, he says, will inevitably require new paradigms involving quantum theory. For example, these mechanical/quantum mechanical hybrids could be used for quantum computing.

Because Mohanty's nanomechanical oscillator is "large," the research team was able to attach electrical wiring to its surface in order to monitor tiny discrete quantum motion, behavior that exists in the realm of atoms and molecules.

At a certain frequency, the paddles begin to vibrate in concert, causing the central beam to move at that same high frequency, but at an increased and easily measured amplitude. Where each paddle moves only about a femtometer, roughly the diameter of an atom's nucleus, the antenna moves over a distance of one-tenth of a picometer, a tiny distance that still translates to a 100-fold increase in amplitude.

When fabricating and testing the nanomechanical device, the researchers placed the entire apparatus, including the cryostat and monitoring devices, in a state-of-the-art, copper-walled, copper-floored room. This set-up shielded the experiment from unwanted vibration noise and electromagnetic radiation that could generate from outside electrical devices, such as cell phone signals, or even the movement of subway trains outside the building.

Even with these precautions, performing such novel experiments is tricky. "When it's a new phenomenon, it's best not to be guided by expectations based on conventional wisdom," says Gaidarzhy. "The philosophy here is to let the data speak for itself."

The group carries out the experiments under extremely cold conditions, at a temperature of 110 millikelvin, which is only a tenth of a degree above the absolute zero. When cooled to such a low temperature, the nanomechanical oscillator starts to jump between two discrete positions without occupying the physical space in between, a telltale sign of quantum behavior.

In addition to Gaidarzhy, Mohanty's team consists of Guiti Zolfagharkhani, a graduate student, and Robert L. Badzey, a post-doctoral fellow in BU's Physics Department. Their paper appears in the January 28, 2005 issue of Physical Review Letters. The research was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, Department of Defense, Petroleum Research Fund, and the Sloan Foundation.

###


Boston University's Physics Department, part of its College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, provides research opportunities in areas such as nanoscience, experimental high-energy physics and astrophysics, molecular biophysics, theoretical condensed-matter physics, and polymer physics. Research in the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering includes robotics, MEMS, and nanotechnology.

Boston University, with an enrollment of more than 29,000 in its 17 schools and colleges, is the fourth largest independent university in the United States.



Contact:
Ann Marie Menting or Cory Hatch
amenting@bu.edu
617-353-2240
Boston University

Copyright © Boston University

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

Possible Futures

Graphene key to growing 2-dimensional semiconductor with extraordinary properties August 30th, 2016

Nanocatalysis for organic chemistry: This research article by Dr. Qien Xu et al. is published in Current Organic Chemistry, Volume 20, Issue 19, 2016 August 30th, 2016

Continuous roll-process technology for transferring and packaging flexible LSI August 29th, 2016

Designing ultrasound tools with Lego-like proteins August 29th, 2016

Quantum Computing

Light and matter merge in quantum coupling: Rice University physicists probe photon-electron interactions in vacuum cavity experiments August 24th, 2016

Prototype chip could help make quantum computing practical: Built-in optics could enable chips that use trapped ions as quantum bits August 9th, 2016

Diamond-based light sources will lay a foundation for quantum communications of the future: Electrified quantum diamond can become the heart of quantum networks and computers of the future August 7th, 2016

Record-breaking logic gate 'another important milestone' on road to quantum computers August 7th, 2016

Announcements

Graphene key to growing 2-dimensional semiconductor with extraordinary properties August 30th, 2016

University of Akron researchers find thin layers of water can become ice-like at room temperature: Results could lead to an assortment of anti-friction solutions August 30th, 2016

Nanocatalysis for organic chemistry: This research article by Dr. Qien Xu et al. is published in Current Organic Chemistry, Volume 20, Issue 19, 2016 August 30th, 2016

Meteorite impact on a nano scale August 29th, 2016

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







Car Brands
Buy website traffic