Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Light and sound fire scientists’ imaginations Rice University researchers lead review of photonic, phononic metamaterials

Rice University scientists Ned Thomas (left), dean of the George R. Brown School of Engineering, and Jae-Hwang Lee are the primary authors of a new review of photonic, phononic and phoXonics research in the journal Advanced Materials.Credit: Tommy LaVergne/Rice University
Rice University scientists Ned Thomas (left), dean of the George R. Brown School of Engineering, and Jae-Hwang Lee are the primary authors of a new review of photonic, phononic and phoXonics research in the journal Advanced Materials.

Credit: Tommy LaVergne/Rice University

Abstract:
Strategies to manipulate light and sound go back to the first spherical glass bead and the pounding of the first hollow log. But their full potential is only just becoming apparent, according to a review by materials scientists at Rice University and their colleagues.

Light and sound fire scientists’ imaginations Rice University researchers lead review of photonic, phononic metamaterials

Houston, TX | Posted on December 13th, 2013

New abilities to corral light and sound from the macroscale to the nanoscale with structured polymers could deliver profound changes in the way we live, said materials scientist Edwin "Ned" Thomas, the William and Stephanie Sick Dean of the George R. Brown School of Engineering at Rice. Such advanced materials could not only revolutionize computing and sensing technology but could also bring about new strategies for soundproofing buildings and cars, managing heat and cold and making submarines invisible to sonar, he said.

"And then there's the invisibility cloak, like in ‘Harry Potter,'" Thomas said. "That's a special effect in the movie, but we're getting to the point where we can do it for real."

Thomas and Rice research scientist Jae-Hwang Lee are primary authors of the comprehensive summary of research into photonics (light), phononics (sound) and hybrid phoXonics (light and sound) materials. The chapter-length, open-access review titled "Ordered Polymer Structures for the Engineering of Photons and Phonons" was published online today by the journal Advanced Materials.

Manipulating light has been around for a long time, said Thomas, who specializes in polymeric materials. "Photonics made a significant advance by showing we can confine light and make it go where we want it to go," he said. "Now we're molding the flow of elastic waves - of which sound is a subset - in similar ways. And there's growing emphasis on devices that handle light and el­­­­­­astic waves simultaneously to do cool things - not with one or the other, but with both."

The review follows by four years a book on the topic by Thomas and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) colleague Martin Maldovan. "There have been a lot of advances since then," Thomas said. "When we were asked by the journal to do this, I told the editor I didn't think it was going to be a short review."

He was right. The review cites more than 400 papers as it details dozens of theories and suggests techniques for the manufacture of devices, along with a few original ideas "we wanted in the literature," Thomas said.

The review primarily deals with photonics and its close relative, plasmonics, a topic of great interest at Rice's Laboratory for Nanophotonics. But the last third of the paper dives into phononics. Treating sound waves somewhat like light waves is a fairly recent approach in materials science, but research into the nanoscale manipulation of sound using materials with periodic mechanical impedance is rising quickly, Thomas said.

"Phononics for sound is probably even more practical than photonics for light, in a way," he said. "Everybody wants to control sound: either get rid of it, enhance it or filter certain frequencies. And this field's moving fast."

The review shows the breadth of research into fashioning polymers that create band gaps for sound and light similar to those that give semiconductors their unique electronic properties. A band gap can be tuned by patterning the materials via a number of techniques to allow only particular frequencies of sound or light to pass through while blocking all others.

The ability to control such properties on the micron scale could make a soundproofing material nearly as thin as a layer of paint, Thomas said. In fact, for some applications it could direct rather than absorb: These thin materials would guide sound waves around an object and emit them on the far side.

That would make submarines effectively invisible, he said. "Normal materials that essentially absorb sound are thick and big. Just look inside any concert hall. With phononics we should be able to make metamaterials that are just as effective but in a smaller form factor. You can't coat a submarine with a 300-foot-thick membrane over the entire hull. But if you could coat it with something half-a-centimeter thick, game on."

Thomas thinks scientists are on the brink of a materials revolution, and the new paper presents plenty of evidence. "This excites me because we're not just making incremental improvements to known properties; usually, materials science is about the material and the structure and whatever makes sense for the application. But we're flipping that. The boundaries we know about don't contain all the solutions. There are things beyond our mindset that contain answers to questions we haven't even imagined.

"The people I work with - the physicists, electrical engineers, materials scientists, chemists - they're all excited about this because they know there are probably way more surprises in the future," he said.

Co-authors are Rice postdoctoral researchers Seog-Jin Jeon and Ori Stein; Yale University postdoctoral researcher Jonathan Singer; Cheong Yang Koh, a researcher at DSO National Laboratories in Singapore; and Maldovan, a research scientist at MIT.

The Asian Office of Aerospace Research and Development through the Defense Thread Reduction Agency and the U.S. Army Research Office through the Institute of Soldier Nanotechnology at MIT supported the research.

####

About Rice University
Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,708 undergraduates and 2,374 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice has been ranked No. 1 for best quality of life multiple times by the Princeton Review and No. 2 for “best value” among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go to tinyurl.com/AboutRiceU.

Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
David Ruth
713-348-6327


Mike Williams
713-348-6728

Copyright © Rice 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 Links

Read the paper at:

Sound Ideas:

Edwin “Ned” Thomas:

Related News Press

News and information

A big leap toward tinier lines: Self-assembly technique could lead to long-awaited, simple method for making smaller microchip patterns March 27th, 2017

“Cysteine Rose” Wins 2016 Thermo Fisher Scientific Electron Microscopy Image Contest: Thermo Fisher honors Andrea Jacassi of the Italian Institute of Technology for image of cysteine crystals using focused ion beam techniques March 27th, 2017

Leti and HORIBA Scientific to Host Webinar on Ultrafast Characterization Tool: Plasma Profiling Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometer Tool Cuts Optimization Time In Layer Deposition and Fabrication of Wide Range of Applications March 27th, 2017

Laser activated gold pyramids could deliver drugs, DNA into cells without harm: Microstructures create temporary pores in cells March 27th, 2017

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

A big leap toward tinier lines: Self-assembly technique could lead to long-awaited, simple method for making smaller microchip patterns March 27th, 2017

Laser activated gold pyramids could deliver drugs, DNA into cells without harm: Microstructures create temporary pores in cells March 27th, 2017

Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods March 25th, 2017

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen March 24th, 2017

Announcements

A big leap toward tinier lines: Self-assembly technique could lead to long-awaited, simple method for making smaller microchip patterns March 27th, 2017

“Cysteine Rose” Wins 2016 Thermo Fisher Scientific Electron Microscopy Image Contest: Thermo Fisher honors Andrea Jacassi of the Italian Institute of Technology for image of cysteine crystals using focused ion beam techniques March 27th, 2017

ATTOPSEMI Technology Joins FDXcelerator Program to Deliver Advanced Non-Volatile Memory IP to GLOBALFOUNDRIES 22 FDX® Technology Platform: Leading-edge I-fuse™ brings higher reliability, smaller cell size and ease of programmability for consumer, automotive, and IoT applications March 27th, 2017

Leti and HORIBA Scientific to Host Webinar on Ultrafast Characterization Tool: Plasma Profiling Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometer Tool Cuts Optimization Time In Layer Deposition and Fabrication of Wide Range of Applications March 27th, 2017

Interviews/Book Reviews/Essays/Reports/Podcasts/Journals/White papers

A big leap toward tinier lines: Self-assembly technique could lead to long-awaited, simple method for making smaller microchip patterns March 27th, 2017

Laser activated gold pyramids could deliver drugs, DNA into cells without harm: Microstructures create temporary pores in cells March 27th, 2017

Researchers make flexible glass for tiny medical devices: Glass can bend over and over again on a nanoscale March 27th, 2017

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen March 24th, 2017

Military

A big leap toward tinier lines: Self-assembly technique could lead to long-awaited, simple method for making smaller microchip patterns March 27th, 2017

Graphene sheets capture cells efficiently: New method could enable pinpoint diagnostics on individual blood cells March 3rd, 2017

Bioinspired process makes materials light, robust, programmable at nano- to macro-scale: Ultralight web of silk nano fibers withstands load 4,000 times its weight February 28th, 2017

'Lossless' metamaterial could boost efficiency of lasers and other light-based devices February 20th, 2017

Photonics/Optics/Lasers

Electro-optical switch transmits data at record-low temperatures: Operating at temperatures near absolute zero, switch could enable significantly faster data processing with lower power consumption March 20th, 2017

AIM Photonics Welcomes Coventor as Newest Member: US-Backed Initiative Taps Process Modeling Specialist to Enable Manufacturing of High-Yield, High-Performance Integrated Photonic Designs March 16th, 2017

Optical fingerprint can reveal pollutants in the air: Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology have proposed a new, sophisticated method of detecting molecules with sensors based on ultra-thin nanomaterials March 15th, 2017

MIPT physicists predict the existence of unusual optical composites March 10th, 2017

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