Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. 24/7 Space News .




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



CHIP TECH
Researchers develop flexible, stretchable photonic devices
by Staff Writers
Boston MA (SPX) Nov 10, 2017


A new material produced by Juejun Hu and his team can be repeatedly stretched without losing its optical properties.

Researchers at MIT and several other institutions have developed a method for making photonic devices - similar to electronic devices but based on light rather than electricity - that can bend and stretch without damage. The devices could find uses in cables to connect computing devices, or in diagnostic and monitoring systems that could be attached to the skin or implanted in the body, flexing easily with the natural tissue.

The findings, which involve the use of a specialized kind of glass called chalcogenide, are described in two papers by MIT Associate Professor Juejun Hu and more than a dozen others at MIT, the University of Central Florida, and universities in China and France. The paper is slated for publication soon in Light: Science and Applications.

Hu, who is the Merton C. Flemings Associate Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, says that many people are interested in the possibility of optical technologies that can stretch and bend, especially for applications such as skin-mounted monitoring devices that could directly sense optical signals. Such devices might, for example, simultaneously detect heart rate, blood oxygen levels, and even blood pressure.

Photonics devices process light beams directly, using systems of LEDs, lenses, and mirrors fabricated with the same kinds of processes used to manufacture electronic microchips. Using light beams rather than a flow of electrons can have advantages for many applications; if the original data is light-based, for example, optical processing avoids the need for a conversion process.

But most current photonics devices are fabricated from rigid materials on rigid substrates, Hu says, and thus have an "inherent mismatch" for applications that "should be soft like human skin." But most soft materials, including most polymers, have a low refractive index, which leads to a poor ability to confine a light beam.

Instead of using such flexible materials, Hu and his team took a novel approach: They formed the stiff material - in this case a thin layer of a type of glass called chalcogenide - into a spring-like coil. Just as steel can be made to stretch and bend when formed into a spring, the architecture of this glass coil allows it to stretch and bend freely while maintaining its desirable optical properties.

"You end up with something as flexible as rubber, that can bend and stretch, and still has a high refractive index and is very transparent," Hu says. Tests have shown that such spring-like configurations, made directly on a polymer substrate, can undergo thousands of stretching cycles with no detectable degradation in their optical performance. The team produced a variety of photonic components, interconnected by the flexible, spring-like waveguides, all in an epoxy resin matrix, which was made stiffer near the optical components and more flexible around the waveguides.

Other kinds of stretchable photonics have been made by embedding nanorods of a stiffer material in a polymer base, but those require extra manufacturing steps and are not compatible with existing photonic systems, Hu says.

Such flexible, stretchable photonic circuits could also be useful for applications where the devices need to conform to the uneven surfaces of some other material, such as in strain gauges. Optics technology is very sensitive to strain, according to Hu, and could detect deformations of less than one-hundredth of 1 percent.

This research is still in early stages; Hu's team has demonstrated only single devices at a time thus far. "For it to be useful, we have to demonstrate all the components integrated on a single device," he says. Work is ongoing to develop the technology to that point so that it could be commercially applied, which Hu says could take another two to three years.

In another paper published last week in Nature Photonics, Hu and his collaborators have also developed a new way of integrating layers of photonics, made of chalcogenide glass and two-dimensional materials such as graphene, with conventional semiconductor photonic circuitry. Existing methods for integrating such materials require them to be made on one surface and then peeled off and transferred to the semiconductor wafer, which adds significant complexity to the process. Instead, the new process allows the layers to be fabricated directly on the semiconductor surface, at room temperature, allowing for simplified fabrication and more precise alignment.

The process can also make use of the chalcogenide material as a "passivation layer," to protect 2-D materials from degradation caused by ambient moisture, and as a way to control the optoelectronic characteristics of 2-D materials. The method is generic and could be extended to other emerging 2-D materials besides graphene, to expand and expedite their integration with photonic circuitry, Hu says.

Research paper

CHIP TECH
Two-dimensional materials unlock the path to ultra-low-power transistors
York UK (SPX) Nov 09, 2017
An international team of scientists has discovered a new route to ultra-low-power transistors using a graphene-based composite material. As transistors are squeezed into ever smaller areas within computer chips, the semiconductor industry struggles to contain overheating in devices. Now researchers from the University of York and Roma Tre University believe the solution lies in compo ... read more

Related Links
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Computer Chip Architecture, Technology and Manufacture
Nano Technology News From SpaceMart.com


Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

CHIP TECH
NASA Moves Up Critical Crew Safety Launch Abort Test

Brazil's tech junkies seek healing at digital detox clinic

NanoRacks launches Full External Cygnus Deployer on OA-8 to ISS

The road to Orion's launch

CHIP TECH
The state of commercial spaceports in 2017

Orbital ATK Successfully Tests First Motor Case for Next Generation Launch Vehicle

Orbital ATK launches eighth cargo mission to space

Vega launches Earth observation satellite for Morocco

CHIP TECH
How long can microorganisms live on Mars

NASA Opens $2 Million Third Phase of 3D-Printed Habitat Competition

Insight will carry over two million names to Mars

Opportunity Does a Wheelie and is Back on Solid Footing

CHIP TECH
China's reusable spacecraft to be launched in 2020

Space will see Communist loyalty: Chinese astronaut

China launches three satellites

Mars probe to carry 13 types of payload on 2020 mission

CHIP TECH
Astronaut meets volcano

European Space Week starts in Estonia

New Chinese sat comms company awaits approval

Myanmar to launch own satellite system-2 in 2019: vice president

CHIP TECH
Plasma from lasers can shed light on cosmic rays, solar eruptions

Leonardo tapped by British Royal Air Force for radar testing equipment

A new way to mix oil and water

Building better silk

CHIP TECH
Astronomers See Moving Shadows Around Planet-Forming Star

Scientists find potential 'missing link' in chemistry that led to life on earth

18-Month Twinkle in a Forming Star Suggests a Very Young Planet

Overlooked Treasure: The First Evidence of Exoplanets

CHIP TECH
Jupiter's Stunning Southern Hemisphere

Watching Jupiter's multiple pulsating X-ray Aurora

Help Nickname New Horizons' Next Flyby Target

Juno Aces 8th Science Pass of Jupiter, Names New Project Manager




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement