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Smallest nanoantennas for high-speed data networks
Date:10/20/2009

ctures cannot be produced easily by optical exposure methods for physical reasons, i.e. due to the wave character of the light. To reach the precision required for the manufacture of gold antennas that are smaller than 100 nm, the scientists working in the "Nanoscale Science" DFG-Heisenberg Group at the KIT Light Tech-nology Institute (LTI) used an electron beam process, the so-called electron beam lithography. The results were published recently in the Nanotechnology journal (Nanotechnology 20 (2009) 425203).

These gold antennas act physically like radio antennas. However, the latter are 10 million times as large, they have a length of about 1 m. Hence, the frequency received by nanoantennas is 1 million times higher than radio frequency, i.e. several 100,000 GHz rather than 100 MHz.

These nanoantennas shall transmit information at extremely high data rates, because the high frequency of the waves allows for an extremely rapid modulation of the signal. For the future of wireless data transmission, this means acceleration by a factor of 10,000 at reduced energy consumption. Hence, nanoantennas are considered a major basis of new optical high-speed data networks. The positive side-effect: Light in the range of 1000 to 400 nm is not hazardous for man, animals, and plants.

In the future, nanoantennas from Karlsruhe may not only be used for information transmission, but also as tools for optical microscopy: "With the help of these small nano light emitters, we can study indi-vidual biomolecules, which has not been established so far", says Dr. Hans-Jrgen Eisler, who heads the DFG Heisenberg group at the Light Technology Institute. Moreover, the nanoantennas may serve as tools to characterize nanostructures from semiconductors, sensor structures, and integrated circuits. The reason is the efficient capture of light by nanoantennas. Thereafter, they are turned into light emitters and emit light quantums (photons).

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Contact: Monika Landgraf
Monika.Landgraf@kit.edu
49-721-608-8126
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Source:Eurekalert  

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