Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Self-assembling silica microwires may herald new generation of integrated optical devices: Optical Materials Express paper details new laser technique with applications in sensing, photovoltaics, optical switches

These scanning electron microscope images reveal how UV laser light changes the surface texture and wettability of glass. Figures (a) and (b) reveal subtle texturing after lower-energy exposure to laser light. These textures made the surfaces more hydrophilic in (a) and more hydrophobic (water repellent) in (b). Higher energies produced a rougher and even more hydrophilic (wettable) (c) and (d) close-up of (c), surface.

Credit: Optical Materials Express.
These scanning electron microscope images reveal how UV laser light changes the surface texture and wettability of glass. Figures (a) and (b) reveal subtle texturing after lower-energy exposure to laser light. These textures made the surfaces more hydrophilic in (a) and more hydrophobic (water repellent) in (b). Higher energies produced a rougher and even more hydrophilic (wettable) (c) and (d) close-up of (c), surface.

Credit: Optical Materials Express.

Abstract:
Silica microwires are the tiny and as-yet underutilized cousins of optical fibers. If precisely manufactured, however, these hair-like slivers of silica could enable applications and technology not currently possible with comparatively bulky optical fiber. By carefully controlling the shape of water droplets with an ultraviolet laser, a team of researchers from Australia and France has found a way to coax silica nanoparticles to self-assemble into much more highly uniform silica wires.

Self-assembling silica microwires may herald new generation of integrated optical devices: Optical Materials Express paper details new laser technique with applications in sensing, photovoltaics, optical switches

Washington, DC | Posted on January 25th, 2013

The international team describes their novel manufacturing technique and its potential applications in a paper published today in the Optical Society's (OSA) open-access journal Optical Materials Express. This technique is particularly significant, according to the researchers, because it could, for the first time, enable silica to be combined with any material through a process of microwire self-assembly.

"We're currently living in the 'Glass Age,' based upon silica, which enables the Internet," says John Canning, team member and a professor in the school of chemistry at The University of Sydney in Australia. "Silica's high thermal processing, ruggedness, and unbeatable optical transparency over long distances equate to unprecedented capacity to transmit data and information all over the world."

Silica, however, is normally incompatible with most other materials so functionalizing silica (giving it the capability) to do more than just carry light has been a challenge. Further, bridging the gap between the light-speed transmission of data through silica and electronic and photonic components - such as optical switches, optical circuits, photon sources, and even sensors - requires some form of interconnect. But this transition is highly inefficient using optical fibers and interconnection losses remain one of the largest unresolved issues in optical communications.

Silica microwires, if they could be manufactured or self-assembled in place, have the potential to operate as optical interconnects. They also could achieve new functionality by adding different chemicals that can only be introduced by self-assembly.

Silica wires, unlike optical fiber, have no cladding, which means greater confinement of light in a smaller structure better suited for interconnection, further minimizing losses and physical space. "So we were motivated to solve the great silica incompatibility problem," explains Canning.

To this end, the researchers came up with the idea of using evaporative self-assembly of silica nanoparticles at room temperature. They recently reported this breakthrough in the journal Nature Communications, demonstrating single-photon-emitting nanodiamonds embedded in silica, which is a first step toward a practical photon source for future quantum computing.

The key to carrying this innovation further, as described in their new research published today in Optical Materials Express, is perfecting the manufacturing process so highly uniform wires self-assemble from nanoparticles suspended in a solution. The challenge has been that as naturally forming round droplets evaporate, they produce very uneven silica microwires. This is due to the microfluidic currents inside the droplet, which corral the nanoparticles into specific patterns aided and held together by intermolecular attractive forces. The nanoparticles then crystalize when the solvent (water) evaporates.

Canning and his team realized that by changing the shape of the droplet and elongating it ever so slightly, they could concurrently change the flow patterns inside the drop, controlling how the nanoparticles assemble.

The researchers did this by changing the "wettability" properties of the glass the drops were resting upon. The team used an ultraviolet laser to alter and pattern a glass made of the mineral borosilicate. This patterning made the surface more wettable in a very controlled way, allowing the droplet to assume a slightly more oblong shape. This subtle shape change was enough to alter the microscopic flows and eddies so as the water evaporated, the silica formed straighter, more uniform microwires.

The researchers anticipate that their processing technology will allow complete control of nanoparticle self-assembly for various technologies, including microwire devices and sensors, photon sources, and possibly silica-based integrated circuits.

It also will enable the production of selective devices such as chemical and biological sensors, photovoltaic structures, and novel switches in both optical fiber form and on waveguides - all of which could lead to technologies that seamlessly integrate microfluidic, electronic, quantum, and photonic functionality.

####

About Optical Society of America
Uniting more than 180,000 professionals from 175 countries, the Optical Society (OSA) brings together the global optics community through its programs and initiatives. Since 1916 OSA has worked to advance the common interests of the field, providing educational resources to the scientists, engineers and business leaders who work in the field by promoting the science of light and the advanced technologies made possible by optics and photonics. OSA publications, events, technical groups and programs foster optics knowledge and scientific collaboration among all those with an interest in optics and photonics. For more information, visit www.osa.org.

About Optical Materials Express

Optical Materials Express (OMEx) is OSA's newest peer-reviewed, open-access journal focusing on the synthesis, processing and characterization of materials for applications in optics and photonics. OMEx primarily emphasizes advances in novel optical materials, their properties, modeling, synthesis and fabrication techniques; how such materials contribute to novel optical behavior; and how they enable new or improved optical devices. It is published by the Optical Society and edited by David J. Hagan of the University of Central Florida. For more information, visit www.OpticsInfoBase.org/OMEx.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Brielle Day

202-416-1435

Copyright © Optical Society of America

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 Links

"Laser tailoring surface interactions, contact angles, drop topologies, and the self-assembly of optical microwires," J. Canning et al., Optical Materials Express, Vol. 3, Issue 2, pp. 284-294 (2013):

Related News Press

News and information

Energy-efficient spin current can be controlled by magnetic field and temperature: SCMR effect simplifies the design of fundamental spintronic components August 20th, 2018

Color effects from transparent 3D printed nanostructures: New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D print templates for user-given colors Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference August 18th, 2018

UVA multidisciplinary engineering team designs technology for smart materials: The invention could lead to devices and manufactured goods, such as fabrics, that can dynamically regulate between thermally insulating and cooling August 17th, 2018

Smallest transistor worldwide switches current with a single atom in solid electrolyte: Milestone of energy efficiency in information technology -- Publication in Advanced Materials August 17th, 2018

Chip Technology

Energy-efficient spin current can be controlled by magnetic field and temperature: SCMR effect simplifies the design of fundamental spintronic components August 20th, 2018

Smallest transistor worldwide switches current with a single atom in solid electrolyte: Milestone of energy efficiency in information technology -- Publication in Advanced Materials August 17th, 2018

Scientists create antilaser for ultracold atoms condensate August 16th, 2018

Flipping the switch on supramolecular electronics August 14th, 2018

Self Assembly

DNA drives design principles for lighter, thinner optical displays: Lighter gold nanoparticles could replace thicker, heavier layered polymers used in displays’ back-reflectors June 27th, 2018

Collaboration yields discovery of 12-sided silica cages June 20th, 2018

Self-assembling 3D battery would charge in seconds May 22nd, 2018

Engineered polymer membranes could be new option for water treatment May 6th, 2018

Optical computing/Photonic computing

Scientists create antilaser for ultracold atoms condensate August 16th, 2018

Kavli Lectures: New vision of nanomaterial synthesis and light-fueled space travel August 8th, 2018

NUST MISIS scientists present metamaterial for solar cells and nanooptics July 23rd, 2018

SUNY Poly-Led AIM Photonics and Partners Attend SEMICON West 2018 to Showcase High-Tech Advances, Collaboration, and Future R&D Opportunities: New York’s Tech Valley Makes a Major Showing in Silicon Valley July 3rd, 2018

Sensors

CTI Materials drives nano commercialization with it's patented surfactant free nanoparticle dispersions August 15th, 2018

Optical fibers that can 'feel' the materials around them August 7th, 2018

A molecular switch at the edge of graphene July 27th, 2018

Leti & Partners Launch Pilot Program to Assess New Perception Sensors for Autonomous Vehicles July 5th, 2018

Discoveries

Energy-efficient spin current can be controlled by magnetic field and temperature: SCMR effect simplifies the design of fundamental spintronic components August 20th, 2018

Color effects from transparent 3D printed nanostructures: New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D print templates for user-given colors Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference August 18th, 2018

UVA multidisciplinary engineering team designs technology for smart materials: The invention could lead to devices and manufactured goods, such as fabrics, that can dynamically regulate between thermally insulating and cooling August 17th, 2018

Smallest transistor worldwide switches current with a single atom in solid electrolyte: Milestone of energy efficiency in information technology -- Publication in Advanced Materials August 17th, 2018

Announcements

Energy-efficient spin current can be controlled by magnetic field and temperature: SCMR effect simplifies the design of fundamental spintronic components August 20th, 2018

Color effects from transparent 3D printed nanostructures: New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D print templates for user-given colors Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference August 18th, 2018

UVA multidisciplinary engineering team designs technology for smart materials: The invention could lead to devices and manufactured goods, such as fabrics, that can dynamically regulate between thermally insulating and cooling August 17th, 2018

Smallest transistor worldwide switches current with a single atom in solid electrolyte: Milestone of energy efficiency in information technology -- Publication in Advanced Materials August 17th, 2018

Energy

Smallest transistor worldwide switches current with a single atom in solid electrolyte: Milestone of energy efficiency in information technology -- Publication in Advanced Materials August 17th, 2018

Scientists turn to the quantum realm to improve energy transportation August 17th, 2018

Particles pull last drops of oil from well water: Rice University engineers find nanoscale solution to 'produced water' problem August 15th, 2018

CTI Materials drives nano commercialization with it's patented surfactant free nanoparticle dispersions August 15th, 2018

Photonics/Optics/Lasers

Scientists create antilaser for ultracold atoms condensate August 16th, 2018

Breaking down the Wiedemann-Franz law: In a study exploring the coupling between heat and particle currents in a gas of strongly interacting atoms, physicists at ETH Zurich find puzzling behaviours August 10th, 2018

Optical fibers that can 'feel' the materials around them August 7th, 2018

NUST MISIS scientists present metamaterial for solar cells and nanooptics July 23rd, 2018

Solar/Photovoltaic

NUST MISIS scientists present metamaterial for solar cells and nanooptics July 23rd, 2018

Northwestern researchers achieve unprecedented control of polymer grids: Materials could find applications in water purification, solar energy storage, body armor June 22nd, 2018

Team achieves two-electron chemical reactions using light energy, gold May 15th, 2018

Hematene joins parade of new 2D materials: Rice University-led team extracts 3-atom-thick sheets from common iron oxide May 8th, 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