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NIST's 'nanotubes on a chip' may simplify optical power measurements
Date:1/25/2013

ferent functions in the radiometer. One VANTA mat serves as both a light absorber and an electrical heater, and a second VANTA mat serves as a thermistor (a component whose electrical resistance varies with temperature). The VANTA mats are grown on the micro-machined silicon chip, an instrument design that is easy to modify and duplicate. In this application, the individual nanotubes are about 10 nanometers in diameter and 150 micrometers long.

By contrast, ordinary cryogenic radiometers use more types of materials and are more difficult to make. They are typically hand assembled using a cavity painted with carbon as the light absorber, an electrical wire as the heater, and a semiconductor as the thermistor. Furthermore, these instruments need to be modeled and characterized extensively to adjust their sensitivity, whereas the equivalent capability in NIST's mini-radiometer is easily patterned in the silicon.

NIST plans to apply for a patent on the chip-scale radiometer. Simple changes such as improved temperature stability are expected to greatly improve device performance. Future research may also address extending the laser power range into the far infrared, and integration of the radiometer into a potential multipurpose "NIST on a chip" device.


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Contact: Laura Ost
laura.ost@nist.gov
303-497-4880
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Source:Eurekalert  

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