Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > High-temperature plasmonics eyed for solar, computer innovation

This diagram shows the respective properties of plasmonic and refractory materials for applications in high-temperature plasmonics, which could radically improve solar cell performance and bring advanced computer data storage technology that uses heat to record information on a magnetic disk. Birck Nanotechnology Center/Purdue University
This diagram shows the respective properties of plasmonic and refractory materials for applications in high-temperature plasmonics, which could radically improve solar cell performance and bring advanced computer data storage technology that uses heat to record information on a magnetic disk.

Birck Nanotechnology Center/Purdue University

Abstract:
New "plasmonic metamaterials" that operate at high temperatures could radically improve solar cell performance and bring advanced computer data storage technology that uses heat to record information on a magnetic disk.

High-temperature plasmonics eyed for solar, computer innovation

West Lafayette, IN | Posted on April 17th, 2014

The materials could make it possible to harness clouds of electrons called surface plasmons to manipulate and control light. However, some of the plasmonic components under development rely on the use of metals such as gold and silver, which cannot withstand high temperatures. They also are not compatible with the complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) manufacturing process used to construct integrated circuits.

Purdue University researchers are working to replace silver and gold with titanium nitride and zirconium nitride.

"These materials remain stable at the high operational temperatures required for high efficiency and performance," said Urcan Guler, a postdoctoral research associate working with Alexandra Boltasseva, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, and Vladimir M. Shalaev, scientific director of nanophotonics at Purdue's Birck Nanotechnology Center and a distinguished professor of electrical and computer engineering.

The promise of high-temperature plasmonics is described in an article appearing Friday (April 18) in the journal Science. The article, appearing in the magazine's Perspectives section, was co-authored by Guler, Boltasseva and Shalaev.

Metamaterials have engineered surfaces that contain features, patterns or elements, such as tiny antennas or alternating layers of nitrides that enable unprecedented control of light. Under development for about 15 years, the metamaterials owe their unusual potential to precision design on the scale of nanometers.

Now, researchers have discovered that a new class of plasmonic technologies might use high temperatures to achieve superior efficiency. One obstacle, however, is that the operational temperature required for high-efficiency devices is estimated to be around 1,500 degrees Celsius (about 2,700 Fahrenheit). Titanium nitride and zirconium nitride are said to be refractory, meaning they have a high melting point and chemical stability at temperatures above 2,000 Celsius (about 3,600 degrees Fahrenheit).

The materials might be used for solar thermophotovoltaics, in which an ultrathin layer of plasmonic metamaterials could dramatically improve solar cell efficiency: Whereas today's solar cells have an efficiency of about 15 percent, in theory the efficiency might be improved to as high as 85 percent with solar thermophotovoltaics. The plasmonic layer acts as a thin "intermediate spectral converter" that absorbs the entire spectrum of sunlight and then illuminates the solar cell, Guler said.

The spectral converter is an extremely thin layer of metamaterial that uses plasmonic nanoantennas to absorb and emit light. The layer might be as thin as 500 nanometers, or half of a micron, roughly one-hundredth the width of a human hair. This layer of material would be heated by sunlight to about 1,500 degrees Celsius.

Previous research in the field explored the use of refractory metals such as tungsten or tantalum, which are not good plasmonic materials. Using these metals requires a layer 20 times thicker than is possible with the plasmonic metamaterials, making it far more vulnerable to mechanical stresses caused by the constant expansion-contraction cycle of solar thermophotovoltaic devices. Another advantage is that the thinner layer heats up more readily because of its low mass.

The high-temperature plasmonic metamaterials also could enable researchers to perfect a new form of computer data storage called heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) drives, which promise far greater capacity than is possible with current technology. However, one challenge is to create nanoantennas out of materials that stand up to the extreme temperatures and mechanical demands posed by the operation of computer hard drives, Shalaev said.

"The antenna is located very close to a disk spinning at a high speed and under temperatures of about 400 Celsius," he said. "Under these conditions, deformation of the nanostructure is difficult to prevent."

Titanium nitride, however, offers high strength and heat resistance. The material is used commercially to coat drill bits.

"There is no way to damage it with a spinning disk," Guler said.

Shalaev and Boltasseva have formed a startup company, Nano-Meta Technologies Inc., based at the Purdue Research Park. Nano-Meta Technologies is focusing initially on three applications: the heat-assisted magnetic recording, solar thermophotovoltaics and a new clinical therapeutic approach.

In the clinical therapeutic concept, titanium nitride nanoparticles might be injected into the bloodstream so that they accumulate in tumors. Clinicians might shine a certain wavelength of light on these nanoparticles from outside the body, causing the particles to heat up and killing the cancer cells.

Information about Nano-Meta Technologies is available online at www.nanometatech.com/.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Writer:
Emil Venere
765-494-4709


Sources:
Vladimir Shalaev
765-494-9855


Alexandra Boltasseva
765-494-0301


Urcan Guler

Copyright © Purdue 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

Scientists discover new 'boat' form of promising semiconductor: GeSe Uncommon form attenuates semiconductor's band gap size March 23rd, 2017

Caught on camera -- chemical reactions 'filmed' at the single-molecule level March 22nd, 2017

Rare-earths become water-repellent only as they age March 22nd, 2017

Pulverizing e-waste is green, clean -- and cold: Rice, Indian Institute researchers use cryo-mill to turn circuit boards into separated powders March 21st, 2017

Memory Technology

Smart multi-layered magnetic material acts as an electric switch: New study reveals characteristic of islands of magnetic metals between vacuum gaps, displaying tunnelling electric current March 1st, 2017

Strem Chemicals and Dotz Nano Ltd. Sign Distribution Agreement for Graphene Quantum Dots Collaboration February 21st, 2017

Research opens door to smaller, cheaper, more agile communications tech February 16th, 2017

Scientists determine precise 3-D location, identity of all 23,000 atoms in a nanoparticle: Berkeley Lab researchers help to map iron-platinum particle in unprecedented detail February 6th, 2017

Nanomedicine

Nanoparticle paves the way for new triple negative breast cancer drug March 20th, 2017

Block copolymer micellization as a protection strategy for DNA origami March 17th, 2017

Nanocages for gold particles: what is happening inside? March 16th, 2017

Biophysicists propose new approach for membrane protein crystallization March 8th, 2017

Discoveries

Scientists discover new 'boat' form of promising semiconductor: GeSe Uncommon form attenuates semiconductor's band gap size March 23rd, 2017

Caught on camera -- chemical reactions 'filmed' at the single-molecule level March 22nd, 2017

Rare-earths become water-repellent only as they age March 22nd, 2017

Pulverizing e-waste is green, clean -- and cold: Rice, Indian Institute researchers use cryo-mill to turn circuit boards into separated powders March 21st, 2017

Announcements

Scientists discover new 'boat' form of promising semiconductor: GeSe Uncommon form attenuates semiconductor's band gap size March 23rd, 2017

Caught on camera -- chemical reactions 'filmed' at the single-molecule level March 22nd, 2017

Rare-earths become water-repellent only as they age March 22nd, 2017

Pulverizing e-waste is green, clean -- and cold: Rice, Indian Institute researchers use cryo-mill to turn circuit boards into separated powders March 21st, 2017

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

Scientists discover new 'boat' form of promising semiconductor: GeSe Uncommon form attenuates semiconductor's band gap size March 23rd, 2017

Caught on camera -- chemical reactions 'filmed' at the single-molecule level March 22nd, 2017

Rare-earths become water-repellent only as they age March 22nd, 2017

Pulverizing e-waste is green, clean -- and cold: Rice, Indian Institute researchers use cryo-mill to turn circuit boards into separated powders March 21st, 2017

Energy

Researchers develop groundbreaking process for creating ultra-selective separation membranes: Discovery could greatly improve energy-efficiency of separation and purification processes in the chemical and petrochemical industries March 15th, 2017

New nanofiber marks important step in next generation battery development March 14th, 2017

Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance: Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs March 10th, 2017

Space energy technology restored to make power stations more efficient: Scientists use graphene to reinvent abandoned heat energy converter technology March 7th, 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

Solar/Photovoltaic

New nanofiber marks important step in next generation battery development March 14th, 2017

Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance: Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs March 10th, 2017

Strem Chemicals and Dotz Nano Ltd. Sign Distribution Agreement for Graphene Quantum Dots Collaboration February 21st, 2017

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