Nanotechnology Now







Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > Squeezing light into metals: University of Utah engineers control conductivity with inkjet printer

Abstract:
Using an inexpensive inkjet printer, University of Utah electrical engineers produced microscopic structures that use light in metals to carry information. This new technique, which controls electrical conductivity within such microstructures, could be used to rapidly fabricate superfast components in electronic devices, make wireless technology faster or print magnetic materials.

Squeezing light into metals: University of Utah engineers control conductivity with inkjet printer

Salt Lake City, UT | Posted on March 7th, 2014

The study appears online March 7 in the journal Advanced Optical Materials.

High-speed Internet and other data-transfer techniques rely on light transported through optical fibers with very high bandwidth, which is a measure of how fast data can be transferred. Shrinking these fibers allows more data to be packed into less space, but there's a catch: optical fibers hit a limit on how much data they can carry as light is squeezed into smaller and smaller spaces.

In contrast, electronic circuits can be fashioned at much smaller sizes on silicon wafers. However, electronic data transfer operates at frequencies with much lower bandwidth, reducing the amount of data that can be carried.

A recently discovered technology called plasmonics marries the best aspects of optical and electronic data transfer. By crowding light into metal structures with dimensions far smaller than its wavelength, data can be transmitted at much higher frequencies such as terahertz frequencies, which lie between microwaves and infrared light on the spectrum of electromagnetic radiation that also includes everything from X-rays to visible light to gamma rays. Metals such as silver and gold are particularly promising plasmonic materials because they enhance this crowding effect.

"Very little well-developed technology exists to create terahertz plasmonic devices, which have the potential to make wireless devices such as Bluetooth - which operates at 2.4 gigahertz frequency - 1,000 times faster than they are today," says Ajay Nahata, a University of Utah professor of electrical and computer engineering and senior author of the new study.

Using a commercially available inkjet printer and two different color cartridges filled with silver and carbon ink, Nahata and his colleagues printed 10 different plasmonic structures with a periodic array of 2,500 holes with different sizes and spacing on a 2.5-inch-by-2.5 inch plastic sheet.

The four arrays tested had holes 450 microns in diameter - about four times the width of a human hair - and spaced one-25th of an inch apart. Depending on the relative amounts of silver and carbon ink used, the researchers could control the plasmonic array's electrical conductivity, or how efficient it was in carrying an electrical current.

"Using a $60 inkjet printer, we have developed a low-cost, widely applicable way to make plasmonic materials," Nahata says. "Because we can draw and print these structures exactly as we want them, our technique lets you make rapid changes to the plasmonic properties of the metal, without the million-dollar instrumentation typically used to fabricate these structures."

Plasmonic arrays are currently made using microfabrication techniques that require expensive equipment and manufacture only one array at a time. Until now, controlling conductivity in these arrays has proven extremely difficult for researchers.

Nahata and his co-workers at the University of Utah's College of Engineering used terahertz imaging to measure the effect of printed plasmonic arrays on a beam of light. When light with terahertz frequency is directed at a periodic array of holes in a metal layer, it can result in resonance, a fundamental property best illustrated by a champagne flute shattering when it encounters a musical tone of the right pitch.

Terahertz imaging is useful for nondestructive testing, such as detection of anthrax bacterial weapons in packaging or examination of insulation in spacecraft. By studying how terahertz light transmits through their printed array, the Utah team showed that simply changing the amount of carbon and silver ink used to print the array could be used to vary transmission through this structure.

With this new printing technique, Nahata says, "we have an extra level of control over both the transmission of light and electrical conductivity in these devices - you can now design structures with as many different variations as the printer can produce." Nahata says these faster plasmonic arrays eventually could prove useful for:

Wireless devices, because the arrays allow data to be transmitted much more quickly. Many research groups are actively working on this application now.
Printing magnetic materials for greater functionality (lower conductivity, more compact) in different devices. This technology is more than five years away, Nahata says.
Although the Utah team used two different kinds of ink, up to four different inks in a four-color inkjet printer could be used, depending on the application.

###

Nahata conducted this study with University of Utah electrical and computer engineering graduate students Barun Gupta and Shashank Pandey, and Sivaraman Guruswamy, professor of metallurgical engineering at the university. The study was funded by the National Science Foundation through the University of Utah's Materials Research Science and Engineering Center.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
University of Utah College of Engineering
72 S. Central Campus Dr., Room 1650 WEB
Salt Lake City, UT 84112
801-581-6911
fax: 801-581-8692

Aditi Risbud

801-587-9038

Copyright © University of Utah

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

Strength in numbers: Researchers develop the first-ever quantum device that detects and corrects its own errors March 4th, 2015

New research could lead to more efficient electrical energy storage March 4th, 2015

Energy-generating cloth could replace batteries in wearable devices March 4th, 2015

Arrowhead to Present at 2015 Barclays Global Healthcare Conference March 4th, 2015

Chip Technology

Experiment and theory unite at last in debate over microbial nanowires: New model and experiments settle debate over metallic-like conductivity of microbial nanowires in bacterium March 4th, 2015

Magnetic vortices in nanodisks reveal information: Researchers from Dresden and Jülich use microwaves to read out information from smallest storage devices March 4th, 2015

Cambrios and Heraeus Jointly Create New, High-Conductivity Transparent Conductors: Two Companies' Combined Products Dramatically Extend Flexible Substrate Capabilities for Next-Generation Mass-Market Technology Products March 3rd, 2015

The taming of magnetic vortices: Unified theory for skyrmion-materials March 3rd, 2015

Discoveries

Energy-generating cloth could replace batteries in wearable devices March 4th, 2015

Experiment and theory unite at last in debate over microbial nanowires: New model and experiments settle debate over metallic-like conductivity of microbial nanowires in bacterium March 4th, 2015

Magnetic vortices in nanodisks reveal information: Researchers from Dresden and Jülich use microwaves to read out information from smallest storage devices March 4th, 2015

CiQUS researchers obtain high-quality perovskites over large areas by a chemical method March 4th, 2015

Announcements

Experiment and theory unite at last in debate over microbial nanowires: New model and experiments settle debate over metallic-like conductivity of microbial nanowires in bacterium March 4th, 2015

Magnetic vortices in nanodisks reveal information: Researchers from Dresden and Jülich use microwaves to read out information from smallest storage devices March 4th, 2015

CiQUS researchers obtain high-quality perovskites over large areas by a chemical method March 4th, 2015

Arrowhead to Present at 2015 Barclays Global Healthcare Conference March 4th, 2015

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

Strength in numbers: Researchers develop the first-ever quantum device that detects and corrects its own errors March 4th, 2015

Energy-generating cloth could replace batteries in wearable devices March 4th, 2015

Experiment and theory unite at last in debate over microbial nanowires: New model and experiments settle debate over metallic-like conductivity of microbial nanowires in bacterium March 4th, 2015

Magnetic vortices in nanodisks reveal information: Researchers from Dresden and Jülich use microwaves to read out information from smallest storage devices March 4th, 2015

Printing/Lithography/Inkjet/Inks

Maximum Precision in 3D Printing: New complete solution makes additive manufacturing standard for microfabrication February 26th, 2015

SUNY Poly CNSE Researchers and Corporate Partners to Present Forty Papers at Globally Recognized Lithography Conference: SUNY Poly CNSE Research Group Awarded Both ‘Best Research Paper’ and ‘Best Research Poster’ at SPIE Advanced Lithography 2015 forum February 25th, 2015

World’s first compact rotary 3D printer-cum-scanner unveiled at AAAS by NTU Singapore start-up: With production funded by crowdsourcing, the first unit will be delivered to the United States in March February 16th, 2015

3-D printing with custom molecules creates low-cost mechanical sensor February 10th, 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







© Copyright 1999-2015 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE