Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Bubbles are the new lenses for nanoscale light beams

Date:
August 9, 2013
Source:
Penn State
Summary:
Bending light beams to your whim sounds like a job for a wizard or an a complex array of bulky mirrors, lenses and prisms, but a few tiny liquid bubbles may be all that is necessary to open the doors for next-generation, high-speed circuits and displays, according to researchers.

These are laboratory images of a light beam without a bubble lens, followed by three examples of different bubble lenses altering the light.
Credit: Tony Jun Huang, Penn State

Bending light beams to your whim sounds like a job for a wizard or an a complex array of bulky mirrors, lenses and prisms, but a few tiny liquid bubbles may be all that is necessary to open the doors for next-generation, high-speed circuits and displays, according to Penn State researchers.

To combine the speed of optical communication with the portability of electronic circuitry, researchers use nanoplasmonics -- devices that use short electromagnetic waves to modulate light on the nanometer scale, where conventional optics do not work. However, aiming and focusing this modulated light beam at desired targets is difficult.

"There are different solid-state devices to control (light beams), to switch them or modulate them, but the tenability and reconfigurability are very limited," said Tony Jun Huang, associate professor of engineering science and mechanics. "Using a bubble has a lot of advantages."

The main advantage of a bubble lens is just how quickly and easily researchers can reconfigure the bubble's location, size, and shape -- all of which affect the direction and focus of any light beam passing through it.

Huang's team created separate simulations of the light beams and bubble lens to predict their behaviors and optimize conditions before combining the two in the laboratory. They published their findings in Nature Communications.

To form the bubble lens, researchers used a low-intensity laser to heat water on a gold surface. The tiny bubble's optical behavior remains consistent as long as the laser's power and the environmental temperature stay constant.

Simply moving the laser or adjusting the laser's power can change how the bubble will deflect a light beam, either as a concentrated beam at a specific target or as a dispersed wave. Changing the liquid also affects how a light beam will refract.

The materials to form bubble lenses are inexpensive, and the bubbles themselves are easy to dissolve, replace and move.

"In addition to its unprecedented reconfigurability and tenability, our bubble lens has at least one more advantage over its solid-state counterparts: its natural smoothness," said Huang. "The smoother the lens is, the better quality of the light that pass through it."

Huang believes that the next step is to find out how the bubble's shape influences the direction of the light beam and the location of its focal point. Fine control over these light beams will enable improvements for on-chip biomedical devices and super resolution imaging.

"For all these applications, you really need to precisely control light in nanoscale, and that's where this work can be a very important component," said Huang.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Chenglong Zhao, Yongmin Liu, Yanhui Zhao, Nicholas Fang, Tony Jun Huang. A reconfigurable plasmofluidic lens. Nature Communications, 2013; 4 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms3305

Cite This Page:

Penn State. "Bubbles are the new lenses for nanoscale light beams." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 August 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130809084123.htm>.
Penn State. (2013, August 9). Bubbles are the new lenses for nanoscale light beams. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130809084123.htm
Penn State. "Bubbles are the new lenses for nanoscale light beams." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130809084123.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

AP (July 30, 2014) British officials said on Wednesday that driverless cars will be tested on roads in as many as three cities in a trial program set to begin in January. Officials said the tests will last up to three years. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
China's Drone King Says the Revolution Depends on Regulators

China's Drone King Says the Revolution Depends on Regulators

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Comparing his current crop of drones to early personal computers, DJI founder Frank Wang says the industry is poised for a growth surge - assuming regulators in more markets clear it for takeoff. Jon Gordon reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand

3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand

AP (July 30, 2014) 3-D printing is a cool technology, but it's not exactly a hands-on way to make things. Enter the 3Doodler: the pen that turns you into the 3-D printer. AP technology writer Peter Svensson takes a closer look. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Newsy (July 29, 2014) A report from the White House warns not curbing greenhouse gas emissions could cost the U.S. billions. Video provided by Newsy
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