Smallest optical gold nanoantennas may lead to high-speed data networks

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Washington, October 21 (ANI): Scientists have succeeded for the first time in specifically and reproducibly manufacturing smallest optical nanoantennas from gold, which would lead to new high-speed data networks.

To reach the precision required for the manufacture of gold antennas that are smaller than 100 nanometers, the scientists working in the "Nanoscale Science" DFG-Heisenberg Group at the KIT (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology) Light Technology Institute (LTI), US, used an electron beam process, the so-called electron beam lithography.

They developed a method to manufacture minute nanoantennas close to the technical limits.

These gold antennas act physically like radio antennas. However, the latter are 10 million times as large, they have a length of about 1 m.

Hence, the frequency received by nanoantennas is 1 million times higher than radio frequency, that is several 100,000 GHz rather than 100 MHz.

These nanoantennas shall transmit information at extremely high data rates, because the high frequency of the waves allows for an extremely rapid modulation of the signal.

For the future of wireless data transmission, this means acceleration by a factor of 10,000 at reduced energy consumption.

Hence, nanoantennas are considered a major basis of new optical high-speed data networks.

In the future, nanoantennas from Karlsruhe may not only be used for information transmission, but also as tools for optical microscopy.

"With the help of these small nano light emitters, we can study individual biomolecules, which has not been established so far," said Dr. Hans-Jurgen Eisler, who heads the DFG Heisenberg group at the Light Technology Institute.

Moreover, the nanoantennas may serve as tools to characterize nanostructures from semiconductors, sensor structures, and integrated circuits.

The reason is the efficient capture of light by nanoantennas.

Thereafter, they are turned into light emitters and emit light quantums (photons).

The LTI scientists are presently also working on the specific and efficient capture of visible light by means of these antennas and on focusing this light on a few 10 nm, the objective being the optimization of photovoltaic modules. (ANI)

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