Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

The molecule 'scanner': World's smallest terahertz detector invented

Date:
August 5, 2013
Source:
University of Pittsburgh
Summary:
Molecules could soon be "scanned" in a fashion similar to imaging screenings at airports, thanks to a new detector.

An artist’s rendering of molecules being “screened” by a nanoscale terahertz spectrometer.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Pittsburgh

Molecules could soon be "scanned" in a fashion similar to imaging screenings at airports, thanks to a detector developed by University of Pittsburgh physicists.

The detector, featured in a recent issue of Nano Letters, may have the ability to chemically identify single molecules using terahertz radiation -- a range of light far below what the eye can detect.

"Our invention allows lines to be 'written' and 'erased' much in the manner that an Etch A Sketch® toy operates," said study coauthor Jeremy Levy, professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy within the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. "The only difference is that the smallest feature is a trillion times smaller than the children's toy, able to create conductive lines as narrow as two nanometers."

Terahertz radiation refers to a color range far beyond what the eye can see and is useful for identifying specific types of molecules. This type of radiation is generated and detected with the help of an ultrafast laser, a strobe light that turns on and off in less than 30 femtoseconds (a unit of time equal to 10-15-of a second). Terahertz imaging is commonly used in airport scanners, but has been hard to apply to individual molecules due to a lack of sources and detectors at those scales.

"We believe it would be possible to isolate and probe single nanostructures and even molecules -- performing 'terahertz spectroscopy' at the ultimate level of a single molecule," said Levy. "Such resolution will be unprecedented and could be useful for fundamental studies as well as more practical applications."

Levy and his team are currently performing spectroscopy of molecules and nanoparticles. In the future, they hope to work with a C60, a well-known molecule within the terahertz spectrum.

The oxide materials used for this research were provided by study coauthor Chang-Beom Eom, Theodore H. Geballe Professor and Harvey D. Spangler Distinguished Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Engineering.

Additional collaborators include, from Pitt's Department of Physics and Astronomy, Research Assistant Professor Patrick Irvin, Yanjun Ma (A&S '13G), and Mengchen Huang (A&S '13). Also involved was the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Sangwoo Ryu and Chung Wung Bark.

The research was supported by grants from the United States Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the National Science Foundation.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Yanjun Ma, Mengchen Huang, Sangwoo Ryu, Chung Wung Bark, Chang-Beom Eom, Patrick Irvin, Jeremy Levy. Broadband Terahertz Generation and Detection at 10 nm Scale. Nano Letters, 2013; 13 (6): 2884 DOI: 10.1021/nl401219v

Cite This Page:

University of Pittsburgh. "The molecule 'scanner': World's smallest terahertz detector invented." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 August 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130805223512.htm>.
University of Pittsburgh. (2013, August 5). The molecule 'scanner': World's smallest terahertz detector invented. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130805223512.htm
University of Pittsburgh. "The molecule 'scanner': World's smallest terahertz detector invented." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130805223512.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Company Copies Keys From Photos

Company Copies Keys From Photos

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) — A new company allows customers to make copies of keys by simply uploading a couple of photos. But could it also be great for thieves? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: SpaceX Rocket Carries 3-D Printer to Space

Raw: SpaceX Rocket Carries 3-D Printer to Space

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) — A SpaceX Rocket launched from Cape Canaveral, carrying a custom-built 3-D printer into space. NASA envisions astronauts one day using the printer to make their own spare parts. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Inside London's Massive Sewer Tunnel Project

Inside London's Massive Sewer Tunnel Project

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) — Billions of dollars are being spent on a massive super sewer to take away London's vast output of waste, which is endangering the River Thames. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands March in NYC Over Climate Change

Thousands March in NYC Over Climate Change

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) — Accompanied by drumbeats, wearing costumes and carrying signs, thousands of demonstrators filled the streets of Manhattan and other cities around the world on Sunday to urge policy makers to take action on climate change. (Sept. 21) Video provided by AP
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