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Weiss featured in Opli and Research News @ Vanderbilt

Posted by on Thursday, September 6, 2018 in News.

Bowtie-funnel combo best for conducting light; team found answer in undergrad physics equation

weiss_opli

Running computers on virtually invisible beams of light rather than microelectronics would make them faster, lighter and more energy efficient. A version of that technology already exists in fiber optic cables, but they’re much too large to be practical inside a computer.

A Vanderbilt team found the answer in a formula familiar to college physics students – a solution so simple and elegant, it was tough for reviewers to believe. Professor Sharon Weiss; her doctoral student, Shuren Hu, and collaborators at the IBM T. J. Watson Research Center and University of Technology in Troyes, France, published the proof in today’s Science Advances, a peer-reviewed, open-access journal from AAAS.

They developed a structure that’s part bowtie, part funnel that concentrates light powerfully and nearly indefinitely, as measured by a scanning near field optical microscope. Only 12 nanometers connect the points of the bowtie. The diameter of a human hair is 100,000 nanometers.

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