Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Nanotubes boost terahertz detectors: Rice-led project may dramatically improve medical imaging, passenger screening, food inspection

A thin-film terahertz detector created with carbon nanotubes (the thin strip of black material) may revolutionize medical imaging, passenger screening and food inspection, among other uses, according to researchers at Rice University and Sandia National Laboratories.Credit: Sandia National Laboratories
A thin-film terahertz detector created with carbon nanotubes (the thin strip of black material) may revolutionize medical imaging, passenger screening and food inspection, among other uses, according to researchers at Rice University and Sandia National Laboratories.

Credit: Sandia National Laboratories

Abstract:
Researchers at Rice University, Sandia National Laboratories and the Tokyo Institute of Technology have developed novel terahertz detectors based on carbon nanotubes that could improve medical imaging, airport passenger screening, food inspection and other applications.

Nanotubes boost terahertz detectors: Rice-led project may dramatically improve medical imaging, passenger screening, food inspection

Houston, TX | Posted on June 11th, 2014

Unlike current terahertz detectors, the devices are flexible, sensitive to polarization and broad bandwidth and feature large detection areas. They operate at room temperature without requiring any power.

The project led by Rice physicist Junichiro Kono and Sandia scientist François Léonard takes advantage of the terahertz range of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Because terahertz waves are much smaller in energy than visible light, finding materials that absorb and turn them into useful electronic signals has been a challenge, Kono said. Now, thin films of highly aligned carbon nanotubes developed at Rice have been configured to act as compact, flexible terahertz sensors.

The research was reported in the American Chemical Society journal Nano Letters.

Kono said terahertz waves easily penetrate fabric and other materials and may provide less intrusive ways for security screenings of people and cargo. Terahertz imaging could also be used to inspect food without adversely impacting its quality.

Perhaps the most exciting application offered by terahertz technology, he said, is as a possible replacement for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology in screening for cancer and other diseases.

"The potential improvements in size, ease, cost and mobility of a terahertz-based detector are phenomenal," Kono said. "With this technology, you could conceivably design a handheld terahertz detection camera that images tumors in real time with pinpoint accuracy. And it could be done without the intimidating nature of MRI technology."

The scientific community has long been interested in the terahertz properties of carbon nanotubes, Léonard said, but virtually all of the research to date has been theoretical or computer-model-based. A handful of papers, including several by Kono and his Rice team, have investigated terahertz phenomena in carbon nanotubes, but those have focused mainly on the use of one or a bundle of nanotubes.

The problem, Léonard said, is that terahertz radiation typically requires an antenna to achieve coupling into a single nanotube, due to the relatively large size of terahertz waves. The researchers, however, found a way to create a small detector that is visible to the naked eye. The thin carbon nanotube film developed by Rice chemist Robert Hauge and the paper's lead author, Rice graduate student Xiaowei He, does not require an antenna, and is thus amenable to simple fabrication. It represents one of the team's most important achievements, Léonard said.

"Carbon nanotube thin films are extremely good absorbers of electromagnetic light," he explained. In the terahertz range, the film, a mix of metallic and semiconducting nanotubes, soaks up all of the incoming terahertz radiation.

"Trying to do that with a different kind of material would be nearly impossible, since a semiconductor and a metal couldn't coexist at the nanoscale at high density," Kono said. "But that's what we've achieved with the carbon nanotubes."

The technique is key, he said, because it combines the superb terahertz absorption properties of metallic nanotubes and the unique electronic properties of semiconducting nanotubes. This allowed the researchers to create a photo detector that does not require power to operate, with performance comparable to existing technology.

The 150-micron-wide, 2-millimeter-long films of aligned carbon nanotubes were grown by He from 2-micron-wide lines of catalyst. The resulting film was doped to create a positive/negative junction and attached to Teflon backing and gold electrodes for testing. "The structure is very compact and combines the absorber, the thermometer and polarizer that terahertz detectors require into one piece of film," He said.

Next, the researchers need to integrate an independent terahertz radiation generator with the detector for applications that require a source, Léonard said. The team also needs to incorporate electronics into the system and to further improve properties of the carbon nanotube material.

The project's contributors included researchers taking part in NanoJapan, a 12-week summer program that enables freshman and sophomore physics and engineering students from U.S. universities to complete nanoscience research internships in Japan. NanoJapan is funded by the National Science Foundation through the TeraNano collaboration based at Rice and Tokyo Tech. Such research collaborations and international outreach are among Rice's Priorities for the New Century.

"A hallmark of this international research collaboration is the emphasis it places on training the next generation of terahertz nanoscience researchers," Kono said. "NanoJapan tightly integrates the international experience with students' academic programs by providing hands-on opportunities to acquire technical skills and knowledge associated with cutting-edge nanoscience and optics research projects."

Co-authors are Rice graduate students Qi Zhang, Weilu Gao and undergradute Qijia Jiang; Naoki Fujimura and Yukio Kawano of the Tokyo Institute of Technology; NanoJapan participant Meagan Lloyd of Carnegie Mellon University; Kristopher Erickson and Alec Talin of Sandia National Laboratories; and Hauge, a distinguished faculty fellow in chemistry at Rice. Kono is a professor of electrical and computer engineering and of physics and astronomy.

The Department of Energy, the National Institute for Nano Engineering at Sandia National Laboratories, the Lockheed-Martin Rice University LANCER program, the National Science Foundation and the Robert A. Welch Foundation funded 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 3,920 undergraduates and 2,567 graduate students, Rice's undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is 6.3-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.

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 abstract at:

Related News Press

Imaging

Forces of nature: Interview with microscopy innovators Gerd Binnig and Christoph Gerber August 26th, 2016

New approach to determining how atoms are arranged in materials August 25th, 2016

News and information

Forces of nature: Interview with microscopy innovators Gerd Binnig and Christoph Gerber August 26th, 2016

A promising route to the scalable production of highly crystalline graphene films August 26th, 2016

Graphene under pressure August 26th, 2016

Laboratories

A new way to display the 3-D structure of molecules: Metal-organic frameworks provide a new platform for solving the structure of hard-to-study samples August 21st, 2016

Scientists uncover origin of high-temperature superconductivity in copper-oxide compound: Analysis of thousands of samples reveals that the compound becomes superconducting at an unusually high temperature because local electron pairs form a 'superfluid' that flows without resist August 19th, 2016

Law enforcement/Anti-Counterfeiting/Security/Loss prevention

Nanotech Security Featured by Simon Fraser University: Company's Anti-Counterfeiting Technology Developed With the Help of University's 4D LABS Materials Research Institute August 21st, 2016

Down to the wire: ONR researchers and new bacteria August 18th, 2016

Hexagonal boron nitride semiconductors enable cost-effective detection of neutron signals: Texas Tech University researchers demonstrate hexagonal boron nitride semiconductors as a cost-effective alternative for inspecting overseas cargo containers entering US ports August 17th, 2016

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Analog DNA circuit does math in a test tube: DNA computers could one day be programmed to diagnose and treat disease August 25th, 2016

New approach to determining how atoms are arranged in materials August 25th, 2016

Johns Hopkins scientists track metabolic pathways to find drug combination for pancreatic cancer August 25th, 2016

New electrical energy storage material shows its power: Nanomaterial combines attributes of both batteries and supercapacitors August 25th, 2016

Nanotubes/Buckyballs/Fullerenes

Tunneling nanotubes between neurons enable the spread of Parkinson's disease via lysosomes August 24th, 2016

McMaster researchers resolve a problem that has been holding back a technological revolution August 18th, 2016

'Second skin' protects soldiers from biological and chemical agents August 5th, 2016

Carbon nanotube 'stitches' make stronger, lighter composites: Method to reinforce these materials could help make airplane frames lighter, more damage-resistant August 4th, 2016

Nanomedicine

Nanofiber scaffolds demonstrate new features in the behavior of stem and cancer cells August 25th, 2016

Johns Hopkins scientists track metabolic pathways to find drug combination for pancreatic cancer August 25th, 2016

50 years after the release of the film 'Fantastic Voyage,' science upstages fiction: Science upstages fiction with nanorobotic agents designed to travel in the human body to treat cancer August 25th, 2016

Tunneling nanotubes between neurons enable the spread of Parkinson's disease via lysosomes August 24th, 2016

Discoveries

A promising route to the scalable production of highly crystalline graphene films August 26th, 2016

Graphene under pressure August 26th, 2016

Johns Hopkins scientists track metabolic pathways to find drug combination for pancreatic cancer August 25th, 2016

New electrical energy storage material shows its power: Nanomaterial combines attributes of both batteries and supercapacitors August 25th, 2016

Announcements

Forces of nature: Interview with microscopy innovators Gerd Binnig and Christoph Gerber August 26th, 2016

A promising route to the scalable production of highly crystalline graphene films August 26th, 2016

Graphene under pressure August 26th, 2016

Nanofiber scaffolds demonstrate new features in the behavior of stem and cancer cells August 25th, 2016

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

Forces of nature: Interview with microscopy innovators Gerd Binnig and Christoph Gerber August 26th, 2016

A promising route to the scalable production of highly crystalline graphene films August 26th, 2016

Johns Hopkins scientists track metabolic pathways to find drug combination for pancreatic cancer August 25th, 2016

New electrical energy storage material shows its power: Nanomaterial combines attributes of both batteries and supercapacitors August 25th, 2016

Homeland Security

Down to the wire: ONR researchers and new bacteria August 18th, 2016

Hexagonal boron nitride semiconductors enable cost-effective detection of neutron signals: Texas Tech University researchers demonstrate hexagonal boron nitride semiconductors as a cost-effective alternative for inspecting overseas cargo containers entering US ports August 17th, 2016

'Sniffer plasmons' could detect explosives: Scientists have proposed a graphene-based spaser that can detect even small amounts of various substances, including explosives August 16th, 2016

'Second skin' protects soldiers from biological and chemical agents August 5th, 2016

Military

New electrical energy storage material shows its power: Nanomaterial combines attributes of both batteries and supercapacitors August 25th, 2016

Nanoparticles that speed blood clotting may someday save lives August 23rd, 2016

Curbing the life-long effects of traumatic brain injury August 19th, 2016

Lab team spins ginger into nanoparticles to heal inflammatory bowel disease August 19th, 2016

Food/Agriculture/Supplements

Lab team spins ginger into nanoparticles to heal inflammatory bowel disease August 19th, 2016

The NanoWizard® AFM from JPK is applied for interdisciplinary research at the University of South Australia for applications including smart wound healing and how plants can protect themselves from toxins July 26th, 2016

Graphene-infused packaging is a million times better at blocking moisture July 15th, 2016

The use of nanoparticles and bioremediation to decontaminate polluted soils June 14th, 2016

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

Forces of nature: Interview with microscopy innovators Gerd Binnig and Christoph Gerber August 26th, 2016

New electrical energy storage material shows its power: Nanomaterial combines attributes of both batteries and supercapacitors August 25th, 2016

Light and matter merge in quantum coupling: Rice University physicists probe photon-electron interactions in vacuum cavity experiments August 24th, 2016

New flexible material can make any window 'smart' August 23rd, 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