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Home > Press > Singapore Researchers Use FEI Titan S/TEM to Link Plasmonics with Molecular Electronics: As described in the March 28 issue of Science, researchers discover quantum plasmonic tunneling – a phenomenon that may eventually lead to new, ultra-fast electrical circuits
FEI (NASDAQ: FEIC) congratulates its customers, National University of Singapore, Singapore University of Technology and Design, and the A*STAR institutes: Institute of High Performance Computing and Institute of Materials Research and Engineering, on their recent discovery of quantum plasmonic tunneling--a finding they described in Science on the 28th of March1 www.sciencemag.org/content/343/6178/1496.abstract.
Plasmon tunneling is a quantum-mechanical effect where electrons rapidly oscillate across very closely-spaced metal structures. Using a Titan™ scanning/transmission electron microscope (S/TEM), the scientists were able to not only observe this new phenomenon directly, but also control the frequency of the tunneling currents by placing single layers of different molecules between the closely-spaced metal particles. The speed of the switching will directly depend on the nature of the molecules used.
"In our research, we were able to demonstrate that the rapid current oscillations could take place over distances larger than a nanometer, which, although extremely small, opens up possibilities for new technological applications," states one of the researchers and Science paper authors, Dr Michel Bosman, Institute of Materials Research and Engineering, A*STAR, Singapore.
Surface plasmons in metal particles can be introduced by simply shining light of the right color on them. By using the researchers' approach, incoming light will then produce the small tunneling currents between the nearby metal particles. In effect, tiny electrical circuits are made that operate at enormously high speeds.
Today's electrical circuits can operate up to GHz frequencies, but due to design issues, this is close to their inherent speed limit at room temperature. In order for devices to work faster, entirely new circuit designs are required. The research presented here shows a possible route for such optical circuits, by light-generated tunneling currents with operation speeds tens of thousands of times faster than today's microprocessors.
Trisha Rice, vice president and general manager of Materials Science for FEI, comments, "This is incredible work being done by these researchers in Singapore, using the high-energy resolution of a monochromated Titan S/TEM to directly observe and control a quantum plasmonic tunneling event. Congratulations on this achievement and we look forward to learning of new and exciting results in this area."
1 "Quantum Plasmon Resonances Controlled by Molecular Tunnel Junctions," Shu Fen Tan et al, Science 343, 1496 (2014); DOI 10.1126/science. 1248797.
About FEI Company
FEI Company (Nasdaq: FEIC) designs, manufactures and supports a broad range of high-performance microscopy workflow solutions that provide images and answers at the micro-, nano- and picometer scales. Its innovation and leadership enable customers in industry and science to increase productivity and make breakthrough discoveries. Headquartered in Hillsboro, Ore., USA, FEI has over 2,600 employees and sales and service operations in more than 50 countries around the world. More information can be found at: www.fei.com.
FEI Safe Harbor Statement
This news release contains forward-looking statements that include statements regarding the performance capabilities and benefits of the Titan S/TEM. Factors that could affect these forward-looking statements include but are not limited to our ability to manufacture, ship, deliver and install the tools or software as expected; failure of the product or technology to perform as expected; unexpected technology problems and challenges; changes to the technology; the inability of FEI, its suppliers or project partners to make the technological advances required for the technology to achieve anticipated results; and the inability of the customer to deploy the tools or develop and deploy the expected new applications. Please also refer to our Form 10-K, Forms 10-Q, Forms 8-K and other filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for additional information on these factors and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements. FEI assumes no duty to update forward-looking statements.
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