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




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



TECH SPACE
Tiny magnifying glass reveals chemical bonds between atoms
by Staff Writers
Boston MA (SPX) Nov 14, 2016


This is a picture of NanoPhotonics. Image courtesy NanoPhotonics Cambridge/Bart deNijs. For a larger version of this image please go here.

For centuries, scientists believed that light, like all waves, couldn't be focused down smaller than its wavelength, just under a millionth of a metre. Now, researchers led by the University of Cambridge have created the world's smallest magnifying glass, which focuses light a billion times more tightly, down to the scale of single atoms.

In collaboration with colleagues from Spain, the team used highly conductive gold nanoparticles to make the world's tiniest optical cavity, so small that only a single molecule can fit within it. The cavity - called a 'pico-cavity' by the researchers - consists of a bump in a gold nanostructure the size of a single atom, and confines light to less than a billionth of a metre.

The results, reported in the journal Science, open up new ways to study the interaction of light and matter, including the possibility of making the molecules in the cavity undergo new sorts of chemical reactions, which could enable the development of entirely new types of sensors.

According to the researchers, building nanostructures with single atom control was extremely challenging. "We had to cool our samples to -260 C in order to freeze the scurrying gold atoms," said Felix Benz, lead author of the study. The researchers shone laser light on the sample to build the pico-cavities, allowing them to watch single atom movement in real time.

"Our models suggested that individual atoms sticking out might act as tiny lightning rods, but focusing light instead of electricity," said Professor Javier Aizpurua from the Center for Materials Physics in San Sebastian, who led the theoretical section of this work.

"Even single gold atoms behave just like tiny metallic ball bearings in our experiments, with conducting electrons roaming around, which is very different from their quantum life where electrons are bound to their nucleus," said Professor Jeremy Baumberg of the NanoPhotonics Centre at Cambridge's Cavendish Laboratory, who led the research.

The findings have the potential to open a whole new field of light-catalysed chemical reactions, allowing complex molecules to be built from smaller components. Additionally, there is the possibility of new opto-mechanical data storage devices, allowing information to be written and read by light and stored in the form of molecular vibrations.

Research paper


Comment on this article using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.


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

.


Related Links
University of Cambridge
Space Technology News - Applications and Research






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

Previous Report
TECH SPACE
International engineering team develop self-powered mobile polymers
Pittsburgh PA (SPX) Nov 14, 2016
One of the impediments to developing miniaturized, "squishy" robots is the need for an internal power source that overcomes the power-to-weight ratio for efficient movement. An international group involving Inha University, University of Pittsburgh and the Air Force Research Laboratory has built upon their previous research and identified new materials that directly convert ultraviolet light int ... read more


TECH SPACE
Russian New Generation Satellites to Undergo First Flight Tests in 2020

NASA, U.S. Navy Practice Orion Recovery Procedures

Russia space center to work with US on spaceflight biomed issues

Progress, but uphill slog for women in tech

TECH SPACE
Ariane 5 at launch zone for Nov 17 mission with four Galileo satellites

Airbus Safran Launchers and ESA sign confirmation of the Ariane 6 program

US revives hypersonic aerospace research

JCSAT-15 arrives in Kourou for Dec Ariane 5 launch

TECH SPACE
Can we grow potatoes on Mars

Dutch firm unveils concept space suit for Mars explorers

Meteorites reveal lasting drought on Mars

Opportunity heads to next waypoint at over 27 miles on the odometer

TECH SPACE
China launches pulsar test satellite

China's Chang'e-2 a success

Long March-5 reflects China's "greatest advancement" yet in rockets

New heavy-lift carrier rocket boosts China's space dream

TECH SPACE
Can India beat China at its game with common satellite for South Asia

SSL delivers powerful, high capacity broadband satellite for Hughes to Cape Canaveral

NASA to Launch Fleet of Hurricane-Tracking SmallSats

NASA small satellites will take a fresh look at Earth

TECH SPACE
Scientists have 'scared away' microparticles with laser light

Study: Math scares everyone, even physicists

Exotic property of salty solutions discovered

Tiny magnifying glass reveals chemical bonds between atoms

TECH SPACE
Earth-bound instrument analyzes light from planets circling distant stars

Protoplanetary Discs Being Shaped by Newborn Planets

Scientists unveil latest exoplanet-hunter CHARIS

What happens to a pathogenic fungus grown in space?

TECH SPACE
Mystery solved behind birth of Saturn's rings

Last Bits of 2015 Pluto Flyby Data Received on Earth

Uranus may have two undiscovered moons

Possible Clouds on Pluto, Next Target is Reddish




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