Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors


Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > Nanoscale optical switch breaks miniaturization barrier

Left: Illustration of terahertz optical switches shows the vanadium dioxide nanoparticles coated with a "nanomesh" of smaller gold particles. Right: Scanning electron microscope image of the switches at two resolutions. Haglund Lab / Vanderbilt
Left: Illustration of terahertz optical switches shows the vanadium dioxide nanoparticles coated with a "nanomesh" of smaller gold particles. Right: Scanning electron microscope image of the switches at two resolutions.

Haglund Lab / Vanderbilt

Abstract:
An ultra-fast and ultra-small optical switch has been invented that could advance the day when photons replace electrons in the innards of consumer products ranging from cell phones to automobiles.

Nanoscale optical switch breaks miniaturization barrier

Nashville, TN | Posted on March 13th, 2014

The new optical device can turn on and off trillions of times per second. It consists of individual switches that are only one five-hundredth the width of a human hair (200 nanometers) in diameter. This size is much smaller than the current generation of optical switches and it easily breaks one of the major technical barriers to the spread of electronic devices that detect and control light: miniaturizing the size of ultrafast optical switches.

The new device was developed by a team of scientists from Vanderbilt University, University of Alabama-Birmingham, and Los Alamos National Laboratory and is described in the March 12 issue of the journal Nano Letters.

The ultrafast switch is made out of an artificial material engineered to have properties that are not found in nature. In this case, the "metamaterial" consists of nanoscale particles of vanadium dioxide (VO2) - a crystalline solid that can rapidly switch back and forth between an opaque, metallic phase and a transparent, semiconducting phase - which are deposited on a glass substrate and coated with a "nanomesh" of tiny gold nanoparticles.

The scientists report that bathing these gilded nanoparticles with brief pulses from an ultrafast laser generates hot electrons in the gold nanomesh that jump into the vanadium dioxide and cause it to undergo its phase change in a few trillionths of a second.

"We had previously triggered this transition in vanadium dioxide nanoparticles directly with lasers and we wanted to see if we could do it with electrons as well," said Richard Haglund, Stevenson Professor of Physics at Vanderbilt, who led the study. "Not only does it work, but the injection of hot electrons from the gold nanoparticles also triggers the transformation with one fifth to one tenth as much energy input required by shining the laser directly on the bare VO2."

Both industry and government are investing heavily in efforts to integrate optics and electronics, because it is generally considered to be the next step in the evolution of information and communications technology. Intel, Hewlett-Packard and IBM have been building chips with increasing optical functionality for the last five years that operate at gigahertz speeds, one thousandth that of the VO2 switch.

"Vanadium dioxide switches have a number of characteristics that make them ideal for optoelectronics applications," said Haglund. In addition to their fast speed and small size, they:

Are completely compatible with current integrated circuit technology, both silicon-based chips and the new "high-K dielectric" materials that the semiconductor industry is developing to continue the miniaturization process that has been a major aspect of microelectronics technology development;

Operate in the visible and near-infrared region of the spectrum that is optimal for telecommunications applications;
Generate an amount of heat per operation that is low enough so that the switches can be packed tightly enough to make practical devices: about ten trillionths of a calorie (100 femtojoules) per bit.

"Vanadium dioxide's amazing properties have been known for more than half a century. At Vanderbilt, we have been studying VO2 nanoparticles for the last ten years, but the material has been remarkably successfully at resisting theoretical explanations," said Haglund. "It is only in the last few years that intensive computational studies have illuminated the physics that underlies its semiconductor-to-metal transition."

Vanderbilt graduate students Kannatassen Appavoo and Joyeeta Nag fabricated the metamaterial at Vanderbilt; Appavoo joined forces with University of Alabama, Birmingham graduate student Nathaniel Brady and Professor David Hilton to carry out the ultrafast laser experiments with the guidance of Los Alamos National Laboratory staff scientist Rohit Prasankumar and postdoctoral scholar Minah Seo. The theoretical and computational studies that helped to unravel the complex mechanism of the phase transition at the nanoscale were carried out by postdoctoral student Bin Wang and Sokrates Pantelides, University Distinguished Professor of Physics and Engineering at Vanderbilt.

The university researchers were supported by Defense Threat-Reduction Agency grant HDTRA1-0047, U.S. Department of Energy grant DE-FG02-01ER45916, U.S. Department of Education GAANN Fellowship P200A090143 and National Science Foundation grant DMR-1207241. Portions of the research were performed at the Vanderbilt Institute of Nanoscale Science and Engineering in facilities renovated with NSF grant ARI-R2 DMR-0963361, at the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies at Los Alamos National Laboratory under USDOE contract DE-AC52-06NA25396) and at Sandia National Laboratories under USDOE contract DE-AC04-94AL85000).

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
David Salisbury

615-343-6803

Copyright © Vanderbilt 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 News Press

News and information

Personal cooling units on the horizon April 29th, 2016

Exploring phosphorene, a promising new material April 29th, 2016

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Files for Regulatory Clearance to Begin Phase 1/2 Study of ARC-521 April 28th, 2016

The Translational Research Center at the University Hospital of Erlangen in Germany uses the ZetaView from Particle Metrix to quantify extracellular vesicles such as exosomes April 28th, 2016

Laboratories

Exploring phosphorene, a promising new material April 29th, 2016

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Personal cooling units on the horizon April 29th, 2016

Exploring phosphorene, a promising new material April 29th, 2016

Nanoparticles hold promise as double-edged sword against genital herpes April 28th, 2016

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Files for Regulatory Clearance to Begin Phase 1/2 Study of ARC-521 April 28th, 2016

Chip Technology

Exploring phosphorene, a promising new material April 29th, 2016

Researchers create a first frequency comb of time-bin entangled qubits: Discovery is a significant step toward multi-channel quantum communication and higher capacity quantum computers April 28th, 2016

University of Illinois researchers create 1-step graphene patterning method April 27th, 2016

NREL theory establishes a path to high-performance 2-D semiconductor devices April 27th, 2016

Optical computing/ Photonic computing

Researchers create a first frequency comb of time-bin entangled qubits: Discovery is a significant step toward multi-channel quantum communication and higher capacity quantum computers April 28th, 2016

Hybrid nanoantennas -- next-generation platform for ultradense data recording April 28th, 2016

NREL theory establishes a path to high-performance 2-D semiconductor devices April 27th, 2016

Rare Earth atoms see the light: Physicist Dirk Bouwmeester discovers a promising route for combined optical and solid state-based quantum information processing April 25th, 2016

Discoveries

Personal cooling units on the horizon April 29th, 2016

Exploring phosphorene, a promising new material April 29th, 2016

Nanoparticles hold promise as double-edged sword against genital herpes April 28th, 2016

Researchers create a first frequency comb of time-bin entangled qubits: Discovery is a significant step toward multi-channel quantum communication and higher capacity quantum computers April 28th, 2016

Materials/Metamaterials

Exploring phosphorene, a promising new material April 29th, 2016

Hybrid nanoantennas -- next-generation platform for ultradense data recording April 28th, 2016

NREL finds nanotube semiconductors well-suited for PV systems April 27th, 2016

Atomic magnets using hydrogen and graphene April 27th, 2016

Announcements

Personal cooling units on the horizon April 29th, 2016

Exploring phosphorene, a promising new material April 29th, 2016

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Files for Regulatory Clearance to Begin Phase 1/2 Study of ARC-521 April 28th, 2016

The Translational Research Center at the University Hospital of Erlangen in Germany uses the ZetaView from Particle Metrix to quantify extracellular vesicles such as exosomes April 28th, 2016

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

Personal cooling units on the horizon April 29th, 2016

Exploring phosphorene, a promising new material April 29th, 2016

Researchers create a first frequency comb of time-bin entangled qubits: Discovery is a significant step toward multi-channel quantum communication and higher capacity quantum computers April 28th, 2016

Hybrid nanoantennas -- next-generation platform for ultradense data recording April 28th, 2016

Grants/Awards/Scholarships/Gifts/Contests/Honors/Records

Brookhaven's Oleg Gang Named a Battelle 'Inventor of the Year': Recognized for work using DNA to guide and regulate the self-assembly of nanoparticles into clusters and arrays with controllable properties April 25th, 2016

Zip software can detect the quantum-classical boundary: Compression of experimental data reveals the presence of quantum correlations April 21st, 2016

Making electronics out of coal: Instead of burning up this complex hydrocarbon, let's make devices from it April 20th, 2016

Nano-magnets produce 3-dimensional images: Wide-view 3-dimensional holographic display composed of nano-magnetic pixels April 20th, 2016

Photonics/Optics/Lasers

Exploring phosphorene, a promising new material April 29th, 2016

Researchers create a first frequency comb of time-bin entangled qubits: Discovery is a significant step toward multi-channel quantum communication and higher capacity quantum computers April 28th, 2016

Hybrid nanoantennas -- next-generation platform for ultradense data recording April 28th, 2016

NREL theory establishes a path to high-performance 2-D semiconductor devices April 27th, 2016

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







Car Brands
Buy website traffic