Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Molecular Machines Drive Plasmonic Nanoswitches

Date:
February 13, 2009
Source:
Penn State
Summary:
Plasmonics -- a possible replacement for current computing approaches -- may pave the way for the next generation of computers that operate faster and store more information than electronically-based systems and are smaller than optically-based systems, according to an engineer who has developed a plasmonic switch.

Plasmonics -- a possible replacement for current computing approaches -- may pave the way for the next generation of computers that operate faster and store more information than electronically-based systems and are smaller than optically-based systems, according to a Penn State engineer who has developed a plasmonic switch.

Related Articles


"If plasmonics are realized, the future will have circuits as small as the current electronic ones with a capacity a million times better," said Tony Jun Huang, James Henderson assistant professor of Engineering Science and Mechanics. "Plasmonics combines the speed and capacity of photonic -- light based -- circuits with the small size of electronic circuits."

Currently, electronic circuits can be made very small, but they are limited by their capacity and the speed that information can travel in the circuits. Optical circuits send information at the speed of light, but the size is large, limited by the light's wavelength. Plasmonics combines the best of electronic and optical circuits and can transmit electrons and light at the same time using the surface of the device.

Huang's team created a plasmonic switch from switchable bistable rotaxanes. Rotaxanes are complex molecules that consist of a dumbbell shape with a ring or rings encircling the shaft and are sometimes called molecular machines. The ring can either move from one end of the barbell to the other or rotate around the shaft. Changes in molecular shape are the basis of the plasmonic switch.

Computers, in their simplest form, are machines that can say yes or no multiple times to transfer information. The motion of a molecule can serve the same purpose as the on off switch on a light.

The researchers attached their molecular machines to gold-coated nanodiscs fabricated on glass. The machines were attached with disulfide functional groups. The dumbbell shaped molecules have two areas of the shaft primed with two different chemicals. The ring is initially drawn to circle at one primed area. When the chemical there is oxidized, the ring is repelled and moves to the other primed area, flipping the switch. The process is reversible, so the ring returns to its original state to switch on again later. When the molecule moves, it changes the surface plasmon resonance in that tiny area of the metal where it is attached. This change in resonance is what would send the signal on the circuit. The plasmonic switch that Huang and his team developed is not yet part of a circuit.

"Plasmonic circuits have not yet been achieved," said Huang. "In the past, the plasmonic devices made were all passive." These devices were used as light sources, lenses and waveguides. Huang's switches are activated by a chemical process, however, this is not the optimal choice for a working circuit.

"We believe that the chemically-driven redox process can be replaced with direct electrical or optical stimulation, a logical development that would establish a technological basis for the production of a new class of molecular-machine-based active plasmonic components for solid-state nanophotonic integrated circuits with the potential for low-energy and ultra small operations," the researchers state in a recent issue of Nano Letters.

In essence, plasmonic devices would allow computers to get faster and have more memory storage in smaller spaces. Storage of as much as 1,000 movies on a typical USB drive would be possible. Huang suggests that applications like YouTube, which are very popular but have terrible resolution, could become places to see high-resolution images.

"We are in the very beginning of this field," said Huang. "Creation of a plasmonic circuit is probably five years away."

Besides Huang, researchers on this project include Yue Bing Zheng and Bala Krishna Juluri, graduate students in Engineering Science and Mechanics; Lasse Jensen, professor of chemistry; Paul Weiss, distinguished professor of chemistry and physics, all at Penn State; Lei Fang, graduate student and J. Fraser Stoddart, professor, Northwestern University; Ying-Wei yang, postdoctoral fellow, University of California, Los Angeles and Amar H. Flood, professor, Indiana University. The U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the National Science Foundation supported this work.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Penn State. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Penn State. "Molecular Machines Drive Plasmonic Nanoswitches." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 February 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090211161846.htm>.
Penn State. (2009, February 13). Molecular Machines Drive Plasmonic Nanoswitches. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 21, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090211161846.htm
Penn State. "Molecular Machines Drive Plasmonic Nanoswitches." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090211161846.htm (accessed April 21, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Humanoid Robot Can Recognise and Interact With People

Humanoid Robot Can Recognise and Interact With People

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Apr. 20, 2015) An ultra-realistic humanoid robot called &apos;Han&apos; recognises and interprets people&apos;s facial expressions and can even hold simple conversations. Developers Hanson Robotics hope androids like Han could have uses in hospitality and health care industries where face-to-face communication is vital. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Drones and Health Apps at Santiago's "Robotics Day"

Drones and Health Apps at Santiago's "Robotics Day"

AFP (Apr. 20, 2015) Latin American robotics experts gather in Santiago, Chile for "Robotics Day". Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Japan Humanoid Robot Receives Customers at Department Store

Japan Humanoid Robot Receives Customers at Department Store

AFP (Apr. 20, 2015) She can smile, she can sing and she can give you guidance at one of the most upscale department stores in Tokyo...a female-looking humanoid makes her debut as a receptionist Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pee-Power Toilet to Light Up Disaster Zones

Pee-Power Toilet to Light Up Disaster Zones

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Apr. 20, 2015) Students and staff are being asked to use a prototype urinal to &apos;donate&apos; urine to fuel microbial fuel cell (MFC) stacks that generate electricity to power lighting. The developers hope the pee-power technology will light toilet cubicles in refugee camps, where women are often at risk of assault in poorly lit sanitation areas. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins