Navigation Links
Taming tiny, unruly waves for nano optics
Date:10/8/2007

ATLANTA (Oct. 8, 2007) -- Nanoscale devices present a unique challenge to any optical technology -- theres just not enough room for light to travel in a straight line.

On the nanoscale, energy may be produced by radiating photons of light between two surfaces very close together (sometimes as close as 10 nanometers), smaller than the wavelength of the light. Light behaves much differently on the nanoscale as its wavelength is interrupted, producing unstable waves called evanescent waves. The direction of these unpredictable waves cant be calculated, so researchers face the daunting task of designing nanotechnologies to work with the tiny, yet potentially useful waves of light.

Researchers at Georgia Tech have discovered a way to predict the behavior of these unruly waves of light during nanoscale radiation heat transfer, opening the door to the design of a spectrum of new nanodevices (or NEMS) and nanotechnologies, including solar thermal energy technologies. Their findings were featured on the cover of the Oct. 8 issue of Applied Physics Letters.

This discovery gives us the fundamental information to determine things like how far apart plates should be and what size they should be when designing a technology that uses nanoscale radiation heat transfer, said Zhuomin Zhang, a lead researcher on the project and a professor in the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering. Understanding the behavior of light at this scale is the key to designing technologies to take advantage of the unique capabilities of this phenomenon.

The Georgia Tech research team set out to study evanescent waves in nanoscale radiation energy transfer (between two very close surfaces at different temperatures by means of thermal radiation). Because the direction of evanescent waves is seemingly unknowable (an imaginary value) in physics terms, Zhangs group instead decided to follow the direction of the electromagnetic energy flow (also known as a Poynting vector) to predict behavior rather than the direction of the photons.

Were using classic electrodynamics to explain the behavior of the waves, not quantum mechanics, Zhang said. Were predicting the energy propagation -- and not the actual movement -- of the photons.

The challenge is that electrodynamics work differently on the nanoscale and the Georgia Tech team would need to pinpoint those differences. Plancks law, a more than 100-year-old theory about how electromagnetic waves radiate, does not apply on the nanoscale due to fact that the space between surfaces is smaller than a wavelength.

The Georgia Tech team observed that instead of normal straight line radiation, the light was bending as protons tunneled through the vacuum in between the two surfaces just nanometers apart. The team also noticed that the evanescent waves were separating during this thermal process, allowing them to visualize and predict the energy path of the waves.

Understanding the behavior of such waves is critical to the design of many devices that use nanotechnology, including near-field thermophotovoltaic systems, nanoscale imaging based on thermal radiation scanning tunneling microscopy and scanning photon-tunneling microscopy, said Zhang.


'/>"/>
Contact: Megan McRainey
megan.mcrainey@icpa.gatech.edu
404-894-6016
Georgia Institute of Technology
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology technology :

1. With copper pricing skyrocketing, fiber-optics is the way to go
2. Charter and Time Warner to partner on fiber optics
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/2/2016)... , ... December 01, 2016 , ... ... Science Symposium (CSS) and the popularity of US Single Day Events (SDE) to ... in early Summer 2018, in Raleigh, NC. Topics of the pharmaceutical and life ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... December 01, 2016 , ... DrugDev believes the only way to ... technology experience. All three tenets were on display at the 2nd Annual DrugDev User ... 40 sponsor, CRO and site organizations to discuss innovation and the future of clinical ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... December 02, 2016 , ... ... companies dedicated to collaboratively developing improved chemistry, manufacturing and control technologies for ... online UHPLC, with robust, probe-based sampling. , Online liquid chromatography analysis ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... NEW YORK , Dec. 1, 2016   ... liquid photopurification, announced today that the Company has concluded ... has the right for a 90-day period to acquire ... invoice value of approximately USD 3.7 million.  ... an agreement with Tamarack under which Tamarack will seek ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:11/14/2016)... Nov. 14, 2016  xG Technology, Inc. ("xG" or ... critical wireless communications for use in challenging operating environments, ... 30, 2016. Management will hold a conference call to ... p.m. Eastern Time (details below). Key Recent ... $16 million binding agreement to acquire Vislink Communication Systems. ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... 22, 2016  The American College of Medical Genetics and ... Magazine as one of the fastest-growing trade shows during ... the Bellagio in Las Vegas . ... of growth in each of the following categories: net square ... number of attendees. The 2015 ACMG Annual Meeting was ranked ...
(Date:6/21/2016)... 21, 2016 NuData Security announced today that ... of principal product architect and that Jon ... customer development. Both will report directly to ... moves reflect NuData,s strategic growth in its product ... customer demand and customer focus values. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):