EPFL engineers have now discovered a simple way of making these surfaces in just a few minutes – without needing a clean room
Optical circuits are set to revolutionize the performance of many devices. Not only are they 10–100 times faster than electronic circuits, but they also consume a lot less power. Within these circuits, light waves are controlled by extremely thin surfaces called metasurfaces that concentrate the waves and guide them as needed. The metasurfaces contain regularly spaced nanoparticles that can modulate electromagnetic waves over sub-micrometer wavelength scales.
Metasurfaces could enable engineers to make flexible photonic circuits and ultra-thin optics for a host of applications, ranging from flexible tablet computers to solar panels with enhanced light-absorption characteristics. They could also be used to create flexible sensors to be placed directly on a patient’s skin, for example, in order to measure things like pulse and blood pressure or to detect specific chemical compounds.
The catch is that creating metasurfaces using the conventional method, lithography, is a fastidious, several-hour-long process that must be done in a clean room. But EPFL engineers from the Laboratory of Photonic Materials and Fiber Devices (FIMAP) have now developed a simple method for making them in just a few minutes at low temperatures – or sometimes even at room temperature – with no need for a clean room. The EPFL’s School of Engineering method produces dielectric glass metasurfaces that can be either rigid or flexible. The results of their research appear in Nature Nanotechnology.
Turning a weakness into a strength
The new method employs a natural process already used in fluid mechanics: dewetting. This occurs when a thin film of material is deposited on a substrate and then heated. The heat causes the film to retract and break apart into tiny nanoparticles. “Dewetting is seen as a problem in manufacturing – but we decided to use it to our advantage,” says Fabien Sorin, the study’s lead author and the head of FIMAP.
With their method, the engineers were able to create dielectric glass metasurfaces – rather than metallic metasurfaces – for the first time. The advantage of dielectric metasurfaces is that they absorb very little light and have a high refractive index, making it possible to effectively modulate the light that propagates through them.
To construct these metasurfaces, the engineers first created a substrate textured with the desired architecture. Then they deposited a material – in this case, chalcogenide glass – in thin films just tens of nanometers thick. The substrate was subsequently heated for a couple of minutes until the glass became more fluid and nanoparticles began to form in the sizes and positions dictated by the substrate’s texture.
The engineers’ method is so efficient that it can produce highly sophisticated metasurfaces with several levels of nanoparticles or with arrays of nanoparticles spaced 10 nm apart. That makes the metasurfaces highly sensitive to changes in ambient conditions – such as to detect the presence of even very low concentrations of bioparticles. “This is the first time dewetting has been used to create glass metasurfaces. The advantage is that our metasurfaces are smooth and regular, and can be easily produced on large surfaces and flexible substrates,” says Sorin.
The Latest on: Optical circuits
via Google News
The Latest on: Optical circuits
- Photonic Integrated Circuit (IC) Market 2019: Determined by market opportunities, overview, revenue and market share by 2026on November 18, 2019 at 1:23 am
The Photonic Integrated Circuit (IC) market is forecasted on the basis of revenue ... Silicon on Insulator Indium Phosphide Allium Arsenide Segment by Application Optical Fiber Communication Optical ...
- Nanowire circuits allow for transparent and flexible LED screenson November 15, 2019 at 12:27 am
Through experiments, they showed that these strips possessed both high optical conductivity and low resistance, making them superior to previous tin oxide-based materials. In addition, they ...
- Silicon Photonics Market 2019 Opportunity Analysis and Industry Forecast by 2025 – MRE Analysison November 14, 2019 at 10:51 pm
Basis of product type is segmented into optical multiplexers, transceivers, active optic cables, optical attenuator, RF circuits, and others. Based on component type it covers active and passive. The ...
- UCSB Professor Dan Blumenthal’s FRESCO Project Aims to Bring Data Center Into Futureon November 14, 2019 at 10:54 am
Additionally, co-location of the optics and electronics in a tightly integrated package removes the energy it takes to otherwise move data large distances on a circuit card and between electronics and ...
- Microsoft Research: Machine Teaching, Optical Computing, Machine-Human Interaction, and Moreon November 13, 2019 at 9:58 am
In optical networking, he noted, a prism can separate light into its component properties ... She said researchers can even build functioning synthetic circuits out of DNA. "Programming biology is not ...
- Global Automated Optical Inspection System Market Insights, Trend Analysis, Competitive Market Share and Forecast, 2015-2025 - ResearchAndMarkets.comon November 12, 2019 at 3:45 am
Automated Optical Inspection uses optics to capture images of printed circuit boards to see if components are missing, if they are in the correct position, to identify defects, and to ensure the ...
- Android Circuit: New Galaxy Phone Leaks, Bill Gates' Android Mistake, Galaxy S11 Camera Revealedon November 8, 2019 at 4:00 pm
Android Circuit is here to remind you of a few of the many things that have happened around ... and more details on this periscope-based camera model leaked out this week. Along with specs detailing a ...
- Optical voltage imaging in neurons: moving from technology development to practical toolon November 8, 2019 at 6:47 am
A methodological platform based on genetically encoded voltage indicators (GEVIs) that enables the monitoring of large-scale circuit dynamics has brought us closer to this ambitious goal. This Review ...
- Rewritable optical components for 2D light waveson November 7, 2019 at 9:18 am
Polaritons have exciting implications for the future of optical circuits because, unlike electronic integrated circuits, integrated optics is difficult to miniaturize with commonly used materials.
- Optical Satcom Day about worldwide high-speed & secure communicationon November 7, 2019 at 7:47 am
including optical heads which are highly stable and have precise pointing Customised RF lenses and phased array antenna systems: including beam-forming networks and monolithic microwave integrated ...
via Bing News