Nano-mechanical sensors “wired” using photonics

Yale researchers have demonstrated silicon-based nano-cantilevers, smaller than the wavelength of light, that operate on photonic principles eliminating the need for electric transducers and expensive laser setups. The work, reported in Nature Nanotechnology, should usher in a new generation of tools for ultra-sensitive measurements at the atomic level.

In nanoelectromechanical systems, cantilevers are the most fundamental mechanical sensors. These tiny structures – fixed at one end and free at the other – act like nano-scale diving boards that “bend” when molecules “jump” on them and register a change that can be measured and calibrated. The new work shows how these structures can be improved by using integrated photonics to sense the cantilever motion.

“The system we developed is the most sensitive available that works at room temperature. Previously this level of sensitivity could only be achieved at extreme low temperatures,” said researcher Hong Tang. The new system can detect as little deflection in the nano-cantilever sensors as 0.0001 angstroms – one ten thousandth of the size of an atom

To detect this tiny motion, Tang’s team devised a photonic structure to guide the light wave through a cantilever. After exiting from the free end of the cantilever, the light tunnels through a nanometer gap and is collected on chip. “Detecting the lightwave after this evanescent tunneling,” says Tang, “gives the unprecedented sensitivity.”

Tang’s paper also details the construction of a sensor multiplex – a parallel array of 10 nano-cantilevers integrated on a single photonic wire. Each cantilever is a different length, like a key on a xylophone, so when one is displaced it registers its own distinctive “note.” “A multiplex format lets us make more complex measurements of patterns simultaneously – like a tune with chords instead of single notes,” said co-researcher Mo Li. At the heart of this breakthrough is the novel way Tang’s group “wired” the sensors with light. Their technique is not limited by the bandwidth constraints of electrical methods or the diffraction limits of light sources.

“We don’t need a laser to operate these devices,” noted Wolfram Pernice, a co-author of the group’s researcher paper. “Very cheap LEDs will suffice.” Futhermore, the LED light sources – like the million LED pixels that make up a laptop computer screen – can be scaled in size to integrate into a nanophotonic-chip – an important feature for this application.

“This development points to a future of compact, robust and scalable systems with high sensitivity that will find a wide range of future applications – from chemical and biological sensing to optical signal processing,” said Tang.

Source: Yale University

, ,

Comments are closed.

Mechanical Style Flash Drive USB 3.0 High Speed 16TB Large Capacity Waterproof  picture

Mechanical Style Flash Drive USB 3.0 High Speed 16TB Large Capacity Waterproof

$11.66



New HP 2.4GHz Wireless Optical Mobile Travel Mouse LB454AA For Laptops and PCs picture

New HP 2.4GHz Wireless Optical Mobile Travel Mouse LB454AA For Laptops and PCs

$14.89



Patriot P210 128GB 256GB 512GB 1TB 2TB 2.5

Patriot P210 128GB 256GB 512GB 1TB 2TB 2.5" SATA 3 6GB/s Internal SSD PC/MAC Lot

$14.99



FLSUN Leveling Switch Sensor Modules 3D Printer Accessories for Q5/ QQ-S Pro/SR picture

FLSUN Leveling Switch Sensor Modules 3D Printer Accessories for Q5/ QQ-S Pro/SR

$16.99



Apple iPad Pro 11

Apple iPad Pro 11" 4th Gen 128GB A2435 WIFI + Cellular Unlocked Cracked

$549.99



Geeetech 3D Touch V3.2 Auto Bed Leveling Sensor for 3D Printer from US NEW picture

Geeetech 3D Touch V3.2 Auto Bed Leveling Sensor for 3D Printer from US NEW

$11.99



CREALITY CR6 SE Filament Runout Sensor CR-6 Max, Ender 3 S1 Pro, Ender 7, & more picture

CREALITY CR6 SE Filament Runout Sensor CR-6 Max, Ender 3 S1 Pro, Ender 7, & more

$14.50



Card Scanner RISERS and CARD CATCH BIN for Fujitsu fi-8170 Scanner picture

Card Scanner RISERS and CARD CATCH BIN for Fujitsu fi-8170 Scanner

$19.99



Apple iPad 8th Gen A2270 MYLD2LL/A 10.2

Apple iPad 8th Gen A2270 MYLD2LL/A 10.2" 128GB 17.3 Wifi Only Tablet

$199.99



Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 10.5

Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 10.5" 64GB - Wi-Fi Gray read

$69.99



Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes