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

News and information

A nano-roundabout for light December 10th, 2016

Keeping electric car design on the right road: A closer look at the life-cycle impacts of lithium-ion batteries and proton exchange membrane fuel cells December 9th, 2016

Further improvement of qubit lifetime for quantum computers: New technique removes quasiparticles from superconducting quantum circuits December 9th, 2016

Scientists track chemical and structural evolution of catalytic nanoparticles in 3-D: Up-close, real-time, chemical-sensitive 3-D imaging offers clues for reducing cost/improving performance of catalysts for fuel-cell-powered vehicles and other applications December 8th, 2016

Exotic insulator may hold clue to key mystery of modern physics: Johns Hopkins-led research shows material living between classical and quantum worlds December 8th, 2016

Laboratories

Researchers peer into atom-sized tunnels in hunt for better battery: May improve lithium ion for larger devices, like cars December 8th, 2016

Scientists track chemical and structural evolution of catalytic nanoparticles in 3-D: Up-close, real-time, chemical-sensitive 3-D imaging offers clues for reducing cost/improving performance of catalysts for fuel-cell-powered vehicles and other applications December 8th, 2016

Imaging

Scientists track chemical and structural evolution of catalytic nanoparticles in 3-D: Up-close, real-time, chemical-sensitive 3-D imaging offers clues for reducing cost/improving performance of catalysts for fuel-cell-powered vehicles and other applications December 8th, 2016

Deep insights from surface reactions: Researchers use Stampede supercomputer to study new chemical sensing methods, desalination and bacterial energy production December 2nd, 2016

Controlled electron pulses November 30th, 2016

Law enforcement/Anti-Counterfeiting/Security/Loss prevention

ANU invention to inspire new night-vision specs December 7th, 2016

In IEDM 2016 Keynote, Leti CEO Says ‘Hyperconnectivity’, Human-focused Research and the IOT Promise Profound, Positive Changes December 7th, 2016

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Chemical trickery corrals 'hyperactive' metal-oxide cluster December 8th, 2016

Researchers peer into atom-sized tunnels in hunt for better battery: May improve lithium ion for larger devices, like cars December 8th, 2016

Scientists track chemical and structural evolution of catalytic nanoparticles in 3-D: Up-close, real-time, chemical-sensitive 3-D imaging offers clues for reducing cost/improving performance of catalysts for fuel-cell-powered vehicles and other applications December 8th, 2016

Exotic insulator may hold clue to key mystery of modern physics: Johns Hopkins-led research shows material living between classical and quantum worlds December 8th, 2016

Nanotubes/Buckyballs/Fullerenes

Infrared instrumentation leader secures exclusive use of Vantablack coating December 5th, 2016

Novel Electrode Structure Provides New Promise for Lithium-Sulfur Batteries December 3rd, 2016

Cutting-edge nanotechnologies are breaking into industries November 18th, 2016

Hybrid nanostructures hold hydrogen well: Rice University scientists say boron nitride-graphene hybrid may be right for next-gen green cars October 25th, 2016

Nanomedicine

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals to Webcast Fiscal 2016 Year End Results December 7th, 2016

Fast, efficient sperm tails inspire nanobiotechnology December 5th, 2016

Journal Nanotechnology Progress International (JONPI) Volume 6, issue 2 coming out soon! December 5th, 2016

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses: Medicine diffusion capsule could locally treat multiple ailments and diseases over several weeks December 3rd, 2016

Discoveries

A nano-roundabout for light December 10th, 2016

Keeping electric car design on the right road: A closer look at the life-cycle impacts of lithium-ion batteries and proton exchange membrane fuel cells December 9th, 2016

Further improvement of qubit lifetime for quantum computers: New technique removes quasiparticles from superconducting quantum circuits December 9th, 2016

Scientists track chemical and structural evolution of catalytic nanoparticles in 3-D: Up-close, real-time, chemical-sensitive 3-D imaging offers clues for reducing cost/improving performance of catalysts for fuel-cell-powered vehicles and other applications December 8th, 2016

Announcements

A nano-roundabout for light December 10th, 2016

Keeping electric car design on the right road: A closer look at the life-cycle impacts of lithium-ion batteries and proton exchange membrane fuel cells December 9th, 2016

Further improvement of qubit lifetime for quantum computers: New technique removes quasiparticles from superconducting quantum circuits December 9th, 2016

Chemical trickery corrals 'hyperactive' metal-oxide cluster December 8th, 2016

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

A nano-roundabout for light December 10th, 2016

Keeping electric car design on the right road: A closer look at the life-cycle impacts of lithium-ion batteries and proton exchange membrane fuel cells December 9th, 2016

Further improvement of qubit lifetime for quantum computers: New technique removes quasiparticles from superconducting quantum circuits December 9th, 2016

Scientists track chemical and structural evolution of catalytic nanoparticles in 3-D: Up-close, real-time, chemical-sensitive 3-D imaging offers clues for reducing cost/improving performance of catalysts for fuel-cell-powered vehicles and other applications December 8th, 2016

Homeland Security

Nanosensors on the alert for terrorist threats: Scientists interested in the prospects of gas sensors based on binary metal oxide nanocomposites November 5th, 2016

Nanobionic spinach plants can detect explosives: After sensing dangerous chemicals, the carbon-nanotube-enhanced plants send an alert November 2nd, 2016

Notre Dame researchers find transition point in semiconductor nanomaterials September 6th, 2016

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

Military

Exotic insulator may hold clue to key mystery of modern physics: Johns Hopkins-led research shows material living between classical and quantum worlds December 8th, 2016

ANU invention to inspire new night-vision specs December 7th, 2016

Infrared instrumentation leader secures exclusive use of Vantablack coating December 5th, 2016

Quantum obstacle course changes material from superconductor to insulator December 1st, 2016

Food/Agriculture/Supplements

News from Quorum: The Agricultural Research Service of the USDA uses a Quorum Cryo-SEM preparation system for the study of mites, ticks and other soft bodied organisms November 22nd, 2016

Water, water -- the two types of liquid water: Understanding water's behavior could help with Alzheimer's research November 11th, 2016

How nanoscience will improve our health and lives in the coming years: Targeted medicine deliveries and increased energy efficiency are just two of many ways October 26th, 2016

New Agricultural Research Center Debuts at UCF October 12th, 2016

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

Exotic insulator may hold clue to key mystery of modern physics: Johns Hopkins-led research shows material living between classical and quantum worlds December 8th, 2016

Physicists decipher electronic properties of materials in work that may change transistors December 6th, 2016

Shape matters when light meets atom: Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices December 4th, 2016

Quantum obstacle course changes material from superconductor to insulator December 1st, 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