Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > Spinning new materials in a thread: New technique could enable creation of a variety of fiber-based electronic and photonic devices

Samples of materials that have been made into fibers in the lab of MIT’s Yoel Fink. The initial material is made into a 'preform,' in the lower portion, which is then heated and drawn out like taffy into a fiber from the top, preserving the arrangement of materials within the structure.
Photo: Greg Hren/RLE
Samples of materials that have been made into fibers in the lab of MIT’s Yoel Fink. The initial material is made into a 'preform,' in the lower portion, which is then heated and drawn out like taffy into a fiber from the top, preserving the arrangement of materials within the structure.
Photo: Greg Hren/RLE

Abstract:
David L. Chandler, MIT News Office

Researchers at MIT have succeeded in making a fine thread that functions as a diode, a device at the heart of modern electronics. This feat — made possible by a new approach to a type of fiber manufacturing known as fiber drawing — could open up possibilities for fabricating a wide variety of electronic and photonic devices within composite fibers, using a variety of materials.

Spinning new materials in a thread: New technique could enable creation of a variety of fiber-based electronic and photonic devices

Cambridge, MA | Posted on May 21st, 2011

Fiber-drawing techniques are used to produce the optical fibers behind much of today's broadband communications, but these techniques have been limited to materials that can partially melt and stretch like taffy at the temperatures being used for drawing the fibers. The new work demonstrates a way of synthesizing new materials during the fiber-making process, including materials whose melting points are far higher than the temperatures used to process the fibers. The simple proof-of-concept demonstration carried out by the MIT researchers could open the door to a wide array of sophisticated devices based on composite fibers, they say.

The findings, part of a doctoral research project in materials science by Nicholas Orf, have been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The paper was co-authored by Orf (now a postdoc at MIT); John Joannopoulos, the Francis Wright Davis Professor of Physics; Yoel Fink, associate professor; Marc Baldo, associate professor; Ofer Shapira, a research scientist in the Research Laboratory of Electronics; postdoc Fabien Sorin; and Sylvain Danto, who was a postdoc at the time. The work was carried out in Fink's research group.

All previous work on fiber-drawing ended up with the same materials that were there to begin with, just in a different shape, Orf says, adding: "In this method, new materials are formed during the drawing process."

Fiber drawing involves preparing a "preform" of materials, such as a large glass rod resembling an oversized model of the fiber to be produced. This preform is heated until it reaches a taffy-like consistency and then pulled into a thin fiber. The materials comprising the preform remain unchanged as its dimensions are drastically reduced.

In the current research, the preform contained selenium, sulfur, zinc and tin, arranged within a coating of polymer material. The drawing process, carried out at a temperature of just 260 degrees Celsius (500 degrees Fahrenheit), combined these materials to form fibers containing zinc selenide, even though that compound has a melting point of 1,530 degrees Celsius (2,786 degrees Fahrenheit).

The resulting fiber was a simple but functional semiconductor device called a diode — a sort of one-way valve for electrical current, allowing electrons to flow through it in only one direction. The diode, never before made by such a method, is a basic building block for electrical circuits.

"This shows that many more kinds of materials can be incorporated into fibers than ever before," Orf says. Because the physical arrangements placed in the preform are preserved in the drawn fiber, it should ultimately be possible to incorporate more complex electronic circuits within the structure of the fiber itself.

Such fibers might find uses as sensors for light, temperature or other environmental conditions, Orf says. Or the fibers could then be woven, such as to make a solar-cell fabric, he says.

Fink says his research group has been working for more than a decade on expanding the kinds of materials and structures that can be incorporated into fibers. He says that despite the rapid progress made in the last few decades in various forms of electronics, "there has been little progress in advancing the overall functionality and sophistication of fibers and fabrics … one of the earliest forms of human expression."

The group's research, he says, has stemmed from the basic question, "How sophisticated can a fiber be?" Over the years they have incorporated more and more materials, structures and functions into fibers. But one of the biggest limitations has been the set of materials that could be incorporated into the fibers; this new work has greatly expanded that list. The work shows that it is possible, Fink says, "to use the fiber draw as a way to synthesize new materials. It's the first time this has been demonstrated anywhere."

Zinc selenide, the specific compound formed in this drawing process, is an important material for both its electronic and its optical properties, Orf says. Such fibers might have uses in new photonic circuits, which use light beams to perform functions similar to those carried out by flowing electrons in electronic circuits.

While this experiment produced 15 individual diode devices in the fiber, each separate from the others, Fink says that through continuing research, "We think you could probably do hundreds" and even interconnect them to form electronic circuits.

Professor John Ballato, director of the Center for Optical Materials Science and Engineering Technologies at Clemson University, adds, "There has been growing international interest in semiconducting optical fibers over the past few years. Such fibers offer the potential to marry the optoelectronic benefits of semiconductors, [which] we know from the silicon photonics and integrated circuit worlds, with the light guidance and long path lengths of optical fibers." The new MIT work is particularly significant, he says, because of "the utilization of the fiber as a micro solid-state chemical reactor to realize materials that are not generally amenable to direct fiber fabrication."

Ballato, who was not involved in this research, adds that a similar technique has been used to produce reactions using gases, but that to the best of his knowledge, "this is the first … to extend this concept to the solid state, where indeed a more bountiful opportunity exists to achieve a wider range of materials." The process is so flexible and has the potential to be used with such a range of materials, he says, that "it can be considered an important step to a ‘fiber that does everything' — creates, propagates, senses and manipulates photons, electrons [and] phonons."

The work was supported by the U.S. Army through the MIT Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies and by the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center Program of the National Science Foundation.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
MIT news
77 Massachusetts Avenue, Room 11-400
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
Tel 617.253.2700
TTY 617.258.9344

Copyright © MIT

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

News and information

Silicene Labs Announces the Launch of Patent-Pending, 2D Materials Composite Index™ : The Initial 2D Materials Composite Index™ for Q2 2014 Is: 857.3; Founders Include World-Renowned Physicist and Seasoned Business and IP Professionals July 24th, 2014

Iranian Scientists Produce Transparent Nanocomposite Coatings with Longer Lifetime July 24th, 2014

Deadline Announced for Registration in 7th Int'l Nanotechnology Festival in Iran July 23rd, 2014

A Crystal Wedding in the Nanocosmos July 23rd, 2014

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

NNCO Announces an Interactive Webinar: Progress Review on the Coordinated Implementation of the National Nanotechnology Initiative 2011 Environmental, Health, and Safety Research Strategy July 23rd, 2014

Nano-sized Chip "Sniffs Out" Explosives Far Better than Trained Dogs: TAU researcher's groundbreaking sensor detects miniscule concentrations of hazardous materials in the air July 23rd, 2014

NIST shows ultrasonically propelled nanorods spin dizzyingly fast July 22nd, 2014

Penn Study: Understanding Graphene’s Electrical Properties on an Atomic Level July 22nd, 2014

Chip Technology

A Crystal Wedding in the Nanocosmos July 23rd, 2014

Nanometrics Announces Upcoming Investor Events July 22nd, 2014

Penn Study: Understanding Graphene’s Electrical Properties on an Atomic Level July 22nd, 2014

NUS scientists use low cost technique to improve properties and functions of nanomaterials: By 'drawing' micropatterns on nanomaterials using a focused laser beam, scientists could modify properties of nanomaterials for effective applications in photonic and optoelectric applicat July 22nd, 2014

Discoveries

Iranian Scientists Produce Transparent Nanocomposite Coatings with Longer Lifetime July 24th, 2014

UCF Nanotech Spinout Developing Revolutionary Battery Technology: Power the Next Generation of Electronics with Carbon July 23rd, 2014

A Crystal Wedding in the Nanocosmos July 23rd, 2014

Nano-sized Chip "Sniffs Out" Explosives Far Better than Trained Dogs: TAU researcher's groundbreaking sensor detects miniscule concentrations of hazardous materials in the air July 23rd, 2014

Announcements

Silicene Labs Announces the Launch of Patent-Pending, 2D Materials Composite Index™ : The Initial 2D Materials Composite Index™ for Q2 2014 Is: 857.3; Founders Include World-Renowned Physicist and Seasoned Business and IP Professionals July 24th, 2014

Iranian Scientists Produce Transparent Nanocomposite Coatings with Longer Lifetime July 24th, 2014

Deadline Announced for Registration in 7th Int'l Nanotechnology Festival in Iran July 23rd, 2014

A Crystal Wedding in the Nanocosmos July 23rd, 2014

Military

Nano-sized Chip "Sniffs Out" Explosives Far Better than Trained Dogs: TAU researcher's groundbreaking sensor detects miniscule concentrations of hazardous materials in the air July 23rd, 2014

Carbyne morphs when stretched: Rice University calculations show carbon-atom chain would go metal to semiconductor July 21st, 2014

Tiny laser sensor heightens bomb detection sensitivity July 19th, 2014

Future Electronics May Depend on Lasers, Not Quartz July 17th, 2014

Photonics/Optics/Lasers

NUS scientists use low cost technique to improve properties and functions of nanomaterials: By 'drawing' micropatterns on nanomaterials using a focused laser beam, scientists could modify properties of nanomaterials for effective applications in photonic and optoelectric applicat July 22nd, 2014

Carbyne morphs when stretched: Rice University calculations show carbon-atom chain would go metal to semiconductor July 21st, 2014

Tiny laser sensor heightens bomb detection sensitivity July 19th, 2014

Future Electronics May Depend on Lasers, Not Quartz July 17th, 2014

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







© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE