Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Whispering light hears liquids talk

Date:
June 7, 2013
Source:
University of Illinois College of Engineering
Summary:
Researchers have developed optomechanical sensors in which extremely minute forces exerted by light are used to generate and control high-frequency mechanical vibrations of microscale and nanoscale devices that will help unlock vibrational secrets of chemical and biological samples at the nanoscale.

This is a false-color SEM (scanning electron micrograph) of the microfluidic optomechanical resonator.
Credit: Gaurav Bahl, University of Illinois

Ever been to a whispering gallery -- a quiet, circular space underneath an old cathedral dome that captures and amplifies sounds as quiet as a whisper? Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are applying similar principles in the development optomechanical sensors that will help unlock vibrational secrets of chemical and biological samples at the nanoscale.

"Optomechanics is an area of research in which extremely minute forces exerted by light (for example: radiation pressure, gradient force, electrostriction) are used to generate and control high-frequency mechanical vibrations of microscale and nanoscale devices," explained Gaurav Bahl, an assistant professor of mechanical science and engineering at Illinois.

In glass microcavities that function as optical whispering galleries, according to Bahl, these miniscule optical forces can be enhanced by many orders-of-magnitude, which enables 'conversations' between light (photons) and vibration (phonons). These devices are of interest to condensed matter physics as the strong phonon-photon coupling enables experiments targeting quantum information storage (i.e. qubits), quantum-mechanical ground state (i.e. optomechanical cooling), and ultra-sensitive force measurements past the standard quantum limit.

Researchers developed a hollow optomechanical device made of fused silica glass, through which fluids and gases could flow. Employing a unique optomechanical interaction called Brillouin Optomechanics (described previously in Bahl et al, Nature Communications 2:403, 2011; Bahl et al, Nature Physics, vol.8, no.3, 2012), the researchers achieved the optical excitation of mechanical whispering-gallery modes at a phenomenal range of frequencies spanning from 2 MHz to 11,000 MHz.

"These mechanical vibrations can, in turn, 'talk' to liquids within the hollow device and provide optical readout of the mechanical properties," said Bahl, who is first author of the paper, "Brillouin cavity optomechanics with microfluidic devices," published this week in Nature Communications.

By confining various liquids inside a hollow microfluidic optomechanical (μFOM) resonator, researchers built the first-ever bridge between optomechanics and microfluidics.

"We found that the optomechanical interaction in the μFOM device is dependent on the fluid contained within," Bahl said. "These results are a step towards novel experiments probing optomechanics on non-solid phases of matter. In particular, the high frequency, high quality-factor mechanical vibrations demonstrated in this work may enable strongly localized, high-sensitivity, optomechanical interaction with chemical and biological samples."

Potential uses for this technology include optomechanical biosensors that can measure various optical and mechanical properties of a single cell, ultra-high-frequency analysis of fluids, and the optical control of fluid flow.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Illinois College of Engineering. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Gaurav Bahl, Kyu Hyun Kim, Wonsuk Lee, Jing Liu, Xudong Fan, Tal Carmon. Brillouin cavity optomechanics with microfluidic devices. Nature Communications, 2013; 4 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms2994

Cite This Page:

University of Illinois College of Engineering. "Whispering light hears liquids talk." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 June 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130607085343.htm>.
University of Illinois College of Engineering. (2013, June 7). Whispering light hears liquids talk. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130607085343.htm
University of Illinois College of Engineering. "Whispering light hears liquids talk." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130607085343.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Lithium Battery 'Holy Grail' Could Provide 4 Times The Power

Lithium Battery 'Holy Grail' Could Provide 4 Times The Power

Newsy (July 28, 2014) Stanford University published its findings for a "pure" lithium ion battery that could have our everyday devices and electric cars running longer. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

AP (July 28, 2014) AP Investigation: As the Obama administration weans the country off dirty fuels, energy companies are ramping-up overseas coal exports at a heavy price. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shipping Crates Get New 'lease' On Life

Shipping Crates Get New 'lease' On Life

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 25, 2014) Shipping containers have been piling up as America imports more than it exports. Some university students in Washington D.C. are set to get a first-hand lesson in recycling. Their housing is being built using refashioned shipping containers. Lily Jamali reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

AFP (July 25, 2014) Europe's highest train, the little train of Artouste in the French Pyrenees, celebrates its 80th birthday. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
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:
from the past week

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