Nanotechnology Now







Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

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

Abstract:
BU team’s 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

Printing Silicon on Paper, with Lasers April 21st, 2015

A glass fiber that brings light to a standstill: By coupling photons to atoms, light in a glass fiber can be slowed down to the speed of an express train; for a short while it can even be brought to a complete stop April 9th, 2015

Nanotechnology in Medical Devices Market is expected to reach $8.5 Billion by 2019 March 25th, 2015

Nanotechnology Enabled Drug Delivery to Influence Future Diagnosis and Treatments of Diseases March 21st, 2015

Quantum Computing

NIST tightens the bounds on the quantum information 'speed limit' April 13th, 2015

Electrical control of quantum bits in silicon paves the way to large quantum computers: Breakthrough by Australian-led team should make the construction of large-scale quantum computers more affordable April 11th, 2015

OU physicists first to create new molecule with record-setting dipole moment April 4th, 2015

Quantum teleportation on a chip: A significant step towards ultra-high speed quantum computers April 1st, 2015

Announcements

Feynman Prize Winners Announced! April 26th, 2015

New ASTM Standards Will Help Educate Present and Future Nanotechnology Workforces April 26th, 2015

Heat makes electrons’ spin in magnetic superconductors April 26th, 2015

QD Vision Wins 2015 Bronze Edison Award for Color IQ™ Quantum Dot Technology April 26th, 2015

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