Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Penn Theorists to Create Optical Circuit Elements

Abstract:
Technology could have innumerable applications for consumer products, advanced instrumentation and even medicine

A Beam of Light on a Path of Gold to a Miniaturized World: Penn Theorists to Create Optical Circuit Elements

September 28, 2005

Engineers at the University of Pennsylvania have theorized a means of shrinking electronics so they could be run using light instead of electricity. In the search to create faster, smaller and more energy-efficient electronics, researchers have looked elsewhere in the electromagnetic spectrum, which ranges from the low-frequency energy used in everyday electronics to the high-frequency energy of gamma rays, to pass the limits of conventional technology.

In the Aug. 26 issue of Physical Review Letters, currently online, the Penn theorists outline how familiar circuit elements -- inductors, capacitors and resistors could be created on the nanoscale (about a billionth of a meter) in order to operate using infrared or visible light. The Penn researchers describe how nanoscale particles of certain materials, depending on their unique optical properties, could work as circuit elements. For example, nanoscale particles of certain metals, such as gold or silver, could perform the same function in manipulating an "electric" current as an inductor does on a circuit board.

Optical electronics would make it possible to create faster computer processors, construct nanoscale antennas or build more information-dense data- storage devices. Optical electronics could also have exotic applications that simply are not possible with conventional electronics, such as the ability to couple an electronic signal to an individual molecule or the creation of biological circuits.

"The wavelength of light can be measured in hundreds of nanometers and the technology is now available to create structures that would operate on the same or smaller scale as the wavelength of light," wrote Nader Engheta, lead author, and H. Nedwill Ramsey, professor in the Department of Electrical and Systems Engineering of Penn's School of Engineering and Applied Science. "Our work is theoretical, of course, but we do not foresee any sizable barriers to our plan to make these circuit elements in the near future."

Before they could describe how to create optical circuit elements, Engheta, his coauthors and students Alessandro Salandrino and Andrea Al had to first envision how nanoscale materials might interact with light. To do so they looked at a property critical to basic wave interaction called permittivity, which describes how a particular substance affects electromagnetic fields. If a small sphere is created, about a few tens of nanometers across, they explained, light would affect it differently based on its permittivity.

According to their models, the theorists demonstrated that nano-sized sphere made up of a nonmetallic material such as glass with permittivity greater than zero would act like a miniaturized capacitor. A nano-sized sphere made up of a metallic material such as gold or silver with a permittivity less than zero would act like a miniaturized inductor. Either material could also function like a miniaturized resistor, depending on how the optical energy is lost in it.

"So now we have three basic elements of a circuit," Enghata said. "Stacked one upon the other, you could create fairly advanced combinations of circuitry. It is even possible to use these elements to create 'nano' transmission lines and 'nano' cables.

"For years, conventional circuit elements have been the basic building bloc in making functional circuits at lower frequencies," Engheta said. "But now we have the tools to push back the limits of speed and power on electronics. This technology could have innumerable applications for consumer products, advanced instrumentation and even medicine."

####
Contact:
Greg Lester
215-573-6604
glester@pobox.upenn.edu

Copyright © University of Pennsylvania

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

Carbon nanotube optics poised to provide pathway to optical-based quantum cryptography and quantum computing: Researchers are exploring enhanced potential of carbon nanotubes for unique applications June 18th, 2018

Camouflaged nanoparticles used to deliver killer protein to cancer June 17th, 2018

Squeezing light at the nanoscale: Ultra-confined light could detect harmful molecules June 17th, 2018

Physicists devise method to reveal how light affects materials: The new method adds to the understanding of the fundamental laws governing the interaction of electrons and light June 15th, 2018

Chip Technology

Carbon nanotube optics poised to provide pathway to optical-based quantum cryptography and quantum computing: Researchers are exploring enhanced potential of carbon nanotubes for unique applications June 18th, 2018

Making quantum puddles: Physicists discover how to create the thinnest liquid films ever June 13th, 2018

Leti Presenting Strategic Vision and Hosting a Workshop at SEMICON West: “From Electrons to Photons” Leti Workshop and CEO Media Briefing Set for Tuesday, July 10 in W Hotel, San Francisco June 12th, 2018

Nanometrics Updates Time of Webcast at Stifel 2018 Cross Sector Insight Conference June 12th, 2018

Nanoelectronics

Leti Presenting Strategic Vision and Hosting a Workshop at SEMICON West: “From Electrons to Photons” Leti Workshop and CEO Media Briefing Set for Tuesday, July 10 in W Hotel, San Francisco June 12th, 2018

Quantum Interference May Be Key to Smaller Insulators: Breakthrough could jumpstart further miniaturization of transistors June 6th, 2018

Building nanomaterials for next-generation computing: Scientists recently developed a blueprint to fabricate new nanoheterostructures using 2D materials June 1st, 2018

Rare element to provide better material for high-speed electronics May 30th, 2018

Materials/Metamaterials

Making quantum puddles: Physicists discover how to create the thinnest liquid films ever June 13th, 2018

Nickel ferrite promotes capacity and cycle stability of lithium-sulfur battery June 13th, 2018

Evidence for a new property of quantum matter revealed: Electrical dipole activity detected in a quantum material unlike any other tested June 11th, 2018

Nano-saturn: Supramolecular complex formation: Anthracene macrocycle and C60 fullerene June 8th, 2018

Announcements

Carbon nanotube optics poised to provide pathway to optical-based quantum cryptography and quantum computing: Researchers are exploring enhanced potential of carbon nanotubes for unique applications June 18th, 2018

Camouflaged nanoparticles used to deliver killer protein to cancer June 17th, 2018

Squeezing light at the nanoscale: Ultra-confined light could detect harmful molecules June 17th, 2018

Physicists devise method to reveal how light affects materials: The new method adds to the understanding of the fundamental laws governing the interaction of electrons and light June 15th, 2018

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



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project