Scientists Harness Bipolar Light Force: Powerful Enough to Control Nano-Devices

July 14, 2009

(ChattahBox)—In the near future, nano-chips and larger telecommunications devices may be powered by controlled bipolar light forces instead of electricity, providing a powerful source of energy at a lower cost.

A team of electrical scientists from Yale University has harnessed both the attractive and repulsive components contained in a beam of light, allowing the scientists to manipulate components on a silicon chip in opposite directions. Previous studies using the attractive force of light, enabled scientists to move chip components only in one direction.

This scientific breakthrough means that future nano-chips can be powered with energy from light beams. Using light beams as an alternative source of energy does away with the need for installing costly and time-consuming electrical wires. Additionally the light energy runs through circuits with almost no interference to its signal.

The Yale researchers discovered the two opposing “push and pull” forces of light by splitting infrared light into two beams, directing them to travel on different lengths of silicon nanowire, called a waveguide.

The two light beams soon became out of phase with one another, creating a powerful repulsive force, which the researchers were able to control and harness to power small components.

The newly light energy push out or pull in sideways from the direction the light travels. “We’ve demonstrated that these are tunable forces we can engineer,” said Yale assistant professor Hong Tang.

The study is available in the online version of the journal Nature Photonics.

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