Carbon Dioxide Converted Into Fuel With Ultraviolet Light Catalysis

Nanoparticles that help convert carbon dioxide into methane using only ultraviolet light as an energy source have been developed by researchers at Duke University. The team now hopes to develop a version that would run on natural sunlight, a potential treasure for alternative energy. Chemists have long sought an efficient, light-driven catalyst to power this reaction, which could help reduce the growing levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere by converting it into methane, a key building block for many types of fuels. [Read More]

Photo-induced Force Microscopy Measures Nanoparticles With Light

A new technique called “photo-induced force microscopy,” which probes the optical properties of nanomaterials by measuring the physical force imparted by light, is being tested by scientists at Rice University. Isabell Thomann’s primary research centers on using nanoparticles and sunlight to reduce the carbon footprint of power plants. A major focus is photocatalysis, a class of processes in which light interacts with high-tech materials to drive chemical reactions. says Thomann, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, materials science, nanoengineering, and chemistry at Rice University. [Read More]

First Nanoscale Tunable Infrared Source Unveiled

A new nanoparticle amplifier that can generate infrared light and boost the output of one light by capturing and converting energy from a second light has been demonstrated by photonics researchers at Rice University. The creation of Rice’s Laboratory for Nanophotonics (LANP), the device functions similar to a laser. While lasers have a fixed output frequency, however, the output from Rice’s nanoscale “optical parametric amplifier” (OPA) can be tuned over a range of frequencies that includes a portion of the infrared spectrum. [Read More]

Nanotube Graphene Spaser World’s First

The first ever spaser to be made completely of carbon has been modelled by researchers from Monash University. The technology could lead to mobile phones becoming so small, efficient, and flexible they could be printed on clothing. A spaser (an acronym for Surface Plasmon Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation) is essentially a nanoscale laser or nanolaser. It emits a beam of light through the vibration of free electrons, instead of the space-consuming electromagnetic wave emission process of a traditional laser. [Read More]

Nanostructured Infrared Semiconductor may bridge Optics and Electronics

A new semiconductor that manipulates light in the invisible infrared terahertz range has been created by researchers at UC Santa Barbara. Among the applications that this unique semiconductor will be able to support are more efficient solar cells, enhanced medical imaging, and the ability to transmit huge amounts of data at higher speeds. The use of erbium is a central part of this technology. Erbium, a rare earth metal, has the ability to absorb light in the visible as well as infrared wavelength. [Read More]

Metamaterial Tapered Waveguide on a Chip may boost Solar Cell efficiency

In breakthrough photonics research from University at Buffalo, a nanoscale microchip component called a “multilayered waveguide taper array” has been demonstrated that absorbs each frequency of light at different places vertically to catch a “rainbow” of wavelengths, or broadband light. Unlike current chips, the waveguide contains specialized tapers, the thimble-shaped structures pictured here. The work opens up new possibilities for more efficient photovoltaic cells, improved radar and stealth technology and new ways to recycle waste heat generated by machines into energy. [Read More]

Hyperbolic Metamaterial Waveguide for Rainbow Trapping

Buffalo University researchers have created an advanced waveguide which could lead to breakthroughs in stealth technology and solar energy. Their hyperbolic metamaterial waveguide is basically a sophisticated microchip made from alternating ultra-thin films of metal and semiconductors and/or insulators. The waveguide stops and eventually absorbs every light frequency, at somewhat different points in a vertical axis, to capture a rainbow of wavelengths. “Electromagnetic absorbers have been studied for many years, especially for military radar systems,” said Qiaoqiang Gan, PhD, an assistant professor at UB,. [Read More]

Microscopic Infrared Antenna on a Chip

A micron-scale spatial light modulator has been produced by research at Rice University. The spatial light modulator (SLM) is similar to ones used in sensing and imaging devices, but has the possibility of running orders of magnitude faster. Unlike other devices in two-dimensional semiconducting chips, these chips work in three-dimensional “free space.” The device, which looks like a tiny washboard, and could make obsolete current commercial products used to manipulate infrared light, is detailed this week in the open-access online journal Scientific Reports. [Read More]