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

Camouflaged nanoparticles used to deliver killer protein to cancer June 17th, 2018

Squeezing light at the nanoscale: Ultra-confined light could detect harmful molecules June 17th, 2018

Physicists devise method to reveal how light affects materials: The new method adds to the understanding of the fundamental laws governing the interaction of electrons and light June 15th, 2018

Tripling the Energy Storage of Lithium-Ion Batteries: Scientists have synthesized a new cathode material from iron fluoride that surpasses the capacity limits of traditional lithium-ion batteries June 14th, 2018

Nickel ferrite promotes capacity and cycle stability of lithium-sulfur battery June 13th, 2018

Laboratories

Tripling the Energy Storage of Lithium-Ion Batteries: Scientists have synthesized a new cathode material from iron fluoride that surpasses the capacity limits of traditional lithium-ion batteries June 14th, 2018

Evidence for a new property of quantum matter revealed: Electrical dipole activity detected in a quantum material unlike any other tested June 11th, 2018

Imaging

New optical sensor can determine if molecules are left or right 'handed' June 13th, 2018

Nano-saturn: Supramolecular complex formation: Anthracene macrocycle and C60 fullerene June 8th, 2018

Law enforcement/Anti-Counterfeiting/Security/Loss prevention

The dispute about the origins of terahertz photoresponse in graphene results in a draw April 26th, 2018

Graphene origami as a mechanically tunable plasmonic structure for infrared detection April 25th, 2018

Nuclear radiation detecting device could lead to new homeland security tool: New device can detect gamma rays and identify radioactive isotopes April 25th, 2018

Leti & Mapper announce cyber-security breakthrough that encrypts individual chips with a code: Low-Cost Cyber-Security Breakthrough that Encrypts Individual Chips With a Unique Code Presented at SPIE Advanced Lithography 2018 in San Jose March 2nd, 2018

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Camouflaged nanoparticles used to deliver killer protein to cancer June 17th, 2018

Squeezing light at the nanoscale: Ultra-confined light could detect harmful molecules June 17th, 2018

Tripling the Energy Storage of Lithium-Ion Batteries: Scientists have synthesized a new cathode material from iron fluoride that surpasses the capacity limits of traditional lithium-ion batteries June 14th, 2018

New optical sensor can determine if molecules are left or right 'handed' June 13th, 2018

Nanotubes/Buckyballs/Fullerenes/Nanorods

Nano-saturn: Supramolecular complex formation: Anthracene macrocycle and C60 fullerene June 8th, 2018

Unzipping graphene nanotubes into nanoribbons: New study shows elegant mathematical solution to understand how the flow of electrons changes when carbon nanotubes turn into zigzag nanoribbons June 6th, 2018

Making carbon nanotubes as usable as common plastics: Researchers discover that cresols disperse carbon nanotubes at unprecedentedly high concentrations May 15th, 2018

'Exceptional' research points way toward quantum discoveries: Rice University scientists make tunable light-matter couplings in nanotube films April 30th, 2018

Nanomedicine

Camouflaged nanoparticles used to deliver killer protein to cancer June 17th, 2018

Graphene carpets: So neurons communicate better: Research by SISSA reveals that graphene can strengthen neuronal activity, confirming the unique properties of this nanomaterial. The study has been published on Nature Nanotechnology June 13th, 2018

New optical sensor can determine if molecules are left or right 'handed' June 13th, 2018

A nanotech sensor that turns molecular fingerprints into bar codes June 7th, 2018

Discoveries

Camouflaged nanoparticles used to deliver killer protein to cancer June 17th, 2018

Squeezing light at the nanoscale: Ultra-confined light could detect harmful molecules June 17th, 2018

Physicists devise method to reveal how light affects materials: The new method adds to the understanding of the fundamental laws governing the interaction of electrons and light June 15th, 2018

Tripling the Energy Storage of Lithium-Ion Batteries: Scientists have synthesized a new cathode material from iron fluoride that surpasses the capacity limits of traditional lithium-ion batteries June 14th, 2018

Announcements

Camouflaged nanoparticles used to deliver killer protein to cancer June 17th, 2018

Squeezing light at the nanoscale: Ultra-confined light could detect harmful molecules June 17th, 2018

Physicists devise method to reveal how light affects materials: The new method adds to the understanding of the fundamental laws governing the interaction of electrons and light June 15th, 2018

Tripling the Energy Storage of Lithium-Ion Batteries: Scientists have synthesized a new cathode material from iron fluoride that surpasses the capacity limits of traditional lithium-ion batteries June 14th, 2018

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

Camouflaged nanoparticles used to deliver killer protein to cancer June 17th, 2018

Squeezing light at the nanoscale: Ultra-confined light could detect harmful molecules June 17th, 2018

Physicists devise method to reveal how light affects materials: The new method adds to the understanding of the fundamental laws governing the interaction of electrons and light June 15th, 2018

Tripling the Energy Storage of Lithium-Ion Batteries: Scientists have synthesized a new cathode material from iron fluoride that surpasses the capacity limits of traditional lithium-ion batteries June 14th, 2018

Homeland Security

Squeezing light at the nanoscale: Ultra-confined light could detect harmful molecules June 17th, 2018

The dispute about the origins of terahertz photoresponse in graphene results in a draw April 26th, 2018

Graphene origami as a mechanically tunable plasmonic structure for infrared detection April 25th, 2018

Nuclear radiation detecting device could lead to new homeland security tool: New device can detect gamma rays and identify radioactive isotopes April 25th, 2018

Military

Squeezing light at the nanoscale: Ultra-confined light could detect harmful molecules June 17th, 2018

Tripling the Energy Storage of Lithium-Ion Batteries: Scientists have synthesized a new cathode material from iron fluoride that surpasses the capacity limits of traditional lithium-ion batteries June 14th, 2018

Rare element to provide better material for high-speed electronics May 30th, 2018

Tunable diamond string may hold key to quantum memory: A process similar to guitar tuning improves storage time of quantum memory May 24th, 2018

Food/Agriculture/Supplements

A nanotech sensor that turns molecular fingerprints into bar codes June 7th, 2018

HTA to Present European Strategy for Competitive Micro- and Nanotechnologies & Smart Systems: Special Event in Brussels on April 24 Gathers Research Institutes’ CEOs, European Commissioners and Key European Industrials April 17th, 2018

Twisting laser light offers the chance to probe the nano-scale: A new method to sensitively measure the structure of molecules has been demonstrated by twisting laser light and aiming it at miniscule gold gratings to separate out wavelengths: April 5th, 2018

Graphene on toast, anyone? Rice University scientists create patterned graphene onto food, paper, cloth, cardboard February 13th, 2018

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

Squeezing light at the nanoscale: Ultra-confined light could detect harmful molecules June 17th, 2018

SUNY Poly Professor Eric Lifshin Selected for ‘Fellow of the Microanalysis Society’ Position for Significant Contributions to Microanalysis June 13th, 2018

New optical sensor can determine if molecules are left or right 'handed' June 13th, 2018

Evidence for a new property of quantum matter revealed: Electrical dipole activity detected in a quantum material unlike any other tested June 11th, 2018

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project