Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New method for tailoring optical processors

Date:
May 21, 2013
Source:
Rice University
Summary:
Physicists and engineers have unveiled a robust new method for arranging metal nanoparticles in geometric patterns that can act as optical processors that transform incoming light signals into output of a different color.

Physicists and engineers from Rice's Laboratory for Nanophotonics have unveiled a robust new method for arranging metal nanoparticles in geometric patterns that can act as optical processors that transform incoming light signals into output of a different color.
Credit: Yu Zhang/Rice University

Rice University scientists have unveiled a robust new method for arranging metal nanoparticles in geometric patterns that can act as optical processors that transform incoming light signals into output of a different color. The breakthrough by a team of theoretical and applied physicists and engineers at Rice's Laboratory for Nanophotonics (LANP) is described this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Related Articles


Rice's team used the method to create an optical device in which incoming light could be directly controlled with light via a process known as "four-wave mixing." Four-wave mixing has been widely studied, but Rice's disc-patterning method is the first that can produce materials that are tailored to perform four-wave mixing with a wide range of colored inputs and outputs.

"Versatility is one of the advantages of this process," said study co-author Naomi Halas, director of LANP and Rice's Stanley C. Moore Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering and a professor of biomedical engineering, chemistry, physics and astronomy. "It allows us to mix colors in a very general way. That means not only can we send in beams of two different colors and get out a third color, but we can fine-tune the arrangements to create devices that are tailored to accept or produce a broad spectrum of colors."

The information processing that takes place inside today's computers, smartphones and tablets is electronic. Each of the billions of transistors in a computer chip uses electrical inputs to act upon and modify the electrical signals passing through it. Processing information with light instead of electricity could allow for computers that are both faster and more energy-efficient, but building an optical computer is complicated by the quantum rules that light obeys.

"In most circumstances, one beam of light won't interact with another," said LANP theoretical physicist Peter Nordlander, a co-author of the new study. "For instance, if you shine a flashlight at a wall and you cross that beam with the beam from a second flashlight, it won't matter. The light that comes out of the first flashlight will pass through, independent of the light from the second.

"This changes if the light is traveling in a 'nonlinear medium,'" he said. "The electromagnetic properties of a nonlinear medium are such that the light from one beam will interact with another. So, if you shine the two flashlights through a nonlinear medium, the intensity of the beam from the first flashlight will be reduced proportionally to the intensity of the second beam."

The patterns of metal discs LANP scientists created for the PNAS study are a type of nonlinear media. The team used electron-beam lithography to etch puck-shaped gold discs that were placed on a transparent surface for optical testing. The diameter of each disc was about one-thousandth the width of a human hair. Each was designed to harvest the energy from a particular frequency of light; by arranging a dozen of the discs in a closely spaced pattern, the team was able to enhance the nonlinear properties of the system by creating intense electrical fields.

"Our system exploits a particular plasmonic effect called a Fano resonance to boost the efficiency of the relatively weak nonlinear effect that underlies four-wave mixing," Nordlander said. "The result is a boost in the intensity of the third color of light that the device produces."

Graduate student and co-author Yu-Rong Zhen calculated the precise arrangement of 12 discs that would be required to produce two coherent Fano resonances in a single device, and graduate student and lead co-author Yu Zhang created the device that produced the four-wave mixing -- the first such material ever created.

"The device Zhang created for four-wave mixing is the most efficient yet produced for that purpose, but the value of this research goes beyond the design for this particular device," said Halas, who was recently named a member of the National Academy of Sciences for her pioneering research in nanophotonics. "The methods used to create this device can be applied to the production of a wide range of nonlinear media, each with tailored optical properties."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Rice University. The original article was written by Jade Boyd. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Y. Zhang, F. Wen, Y.-R. Zhen, P. Nordlander, N. J. Halas. Coherent Fano resonances in a plasmonic nanocluster enhance optical four-wave mixing. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2013; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1220304110

Cite This Page:

Rice University. "New method for tailoring optical processors." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 May 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130521121603.htm>.
Rice University. (2013, May 21). New method for tailoring optical processors. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130521121603.htm
Rice University. "New method for tailoring optical processors." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130521121603.htm (accessed April 24, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Friday, April 24, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

3D Food Printing: The Meal of the Future?

3D Food Printing: The Meal of the Future?

AP (Apr. 23, 2015) — Developers of 3D food printing hope the culinary technology will revolutionize the way we cook and eat. (April 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Safest Bike Ever' Devised by British Entrepreneur

'Safest Bike Ever' Devised by British Entrepreneur

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Apr. 23, 2015) — A British inventor says his Babel bike is the safest bicycle ever produced. Crispin Sinclair - son of famous British inventor Sir Clive Sinclair - hopes the bike&apos;s safety cage, double seatbelt, and host of other measures will inspire non-cyclists to get in the saddle. Jim Drury went to see it in action. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Successful Aerial Refueling of a Drone

First Successful Aerial Refueling of a Drone

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Apr. 23, 2015) — The bat-wing U.S. Navy drone that became the first autonomous airplane to take off and land on an aircraft carrier accomplished yet another milestone on Wednesday, becoming the first unmanned aircraft to undergo aerial refueling. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Human or Robot You Decide

Human or Robot You Decide

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 23, 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

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