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News Article | May 18, 2017
Site: phys.org

The silver serves as a kind of intermediary between the gold particles while not dissipating energy. Credit: Liedl/Hohmann (NIM) Today's computers are faster and smaller than ever before. The latest generation of transistors will have structural features with dimensions of only 10 nanometers. If computers are to become even faster and at the same time more energy efficient at these minuscule scales, they will probably need to process information using light particles instead of electrons. This is referred to as "optical computing". Fiber-optic networks already use light to transport data over long distances at high speed and with minimum loss. The diameters of the thinnest cables, however, are in the micrometer range, as the light waves—with a wavelength of around one micrometer—must be able to oscillate unhindered. In order to process data on a micro- or even nanochip, an entirely new system is therefore required. One possibility would be to conduct light signals via so-called plasmon oscillations. This involves a light particle (photon) exciting the electron cloud of a gold nanoparticle so that it starts oscillating. These waves then travel along a chain of nanoparticles at approximately 10% of the speed of light. This approach achieves two goals: nanometer-scale dimensions and enormous speed. What remains, however, is the energy consumption. In a chain composed purely of gold, this would be almost as high as in conventional transistors, due to the considerable heat development in the gold particles. Tim Liedl, Professor of Physics at LMU and PI at the cluster of excellence Nanosystems Initiative Munich (NIM), together with colleagues from Ohio University, has now published an article in the journal Nature Physics, which describes how silver nanoparticles can significantly reduce the energy consumption. The physicists built a sort of miniature test track with a length of around 100 nanometers, composed of three nanoparticles: one gold nanoparticle at each end, with a silver nanoparticle right in the middle. The silver serves as a kind of intermediary between the gold particles while not dissipating energy. To make the silver particle's plasmon oscillate, more excitation energy is required than for gold. Therefore, the energy just flows "around" the silver particle. "Transport is mediated via the coupling of the electromagnetic fields around the so-called hot spots which are created between each of the two gold particles and the silver particle," explains Tim Liedl. "This allows the energy to be transported with almost no loss, and on a femtosecond time scale." The decisive precondition for the experiments was the fact that Tim Liedl and his colleagues are experts in the exquisitely exact placement of nanostructures. This is done by the DNA origami method, which allows different crystalline nanoparticles to be placed at precisely defined nanodistances from each other. Similar experiments had previously been conducted using conventional lithography techniques. However, these do not provide the required spatial precision, in particular where different types of metals are involved. In parallel, the physicists simulated the experimental set-up on the computer – and had their results confirmed. In addition to classical electrodynamic simulations, Alexander Govorov, Professor of Physics at Ohio University, Athens, USA, was able to establish a simple quantum-mechanical model: "In this model, the classical and the quantum-mechanical pictures match very well, which makes it a potential example for the textbooks." Explore further: Gold nanoparticle chains confine light to the nanoscale More information: Eva-Maria Roller et al. Hotspot-mediated non-dissipative and ultrafast plasmon passage, Nature Physics (2017). DOI: 10.1038/nphys4120


News Article | May 18, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Tomorrow's computers will run on light, and gold nanoparticle chains show much promise as light conductors. Now Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich scientists have demonstrated how tiny spots of silver could markedly reduce energy consumption in light-based computation. Today's computers are faster and smaller than ever before. The latest generation of transistors will have structural features with dimensions of only 10 nanometers. If computers are to become even faster and at the same time more energy efficient at these minuscule scales, they will probably need to process information using light particles instead of electrons. This is referred to as "optical computing". Fiber-optic networks already use light to transport data over long distances at high speed and with minimum loss. The diameters of the thinnest cables, however, are in the micrometer range, as the light waves -- with a wavelength of around one micrometer -- must be able to oscillate unhindered. In order to process data on a micro- or even nanochip, an entirely new system is therefore required. One possibility would be to conduct light signals via so-called plasmon oscillations. This involves a light particle (photon) exciting the electron cloud of a gold nanoparticle so that it starts oscillating. These waves then travel along a chain of nanoparticles at approximately 10% of the speed of light. This approach achieves two goals: nanometer-scale dimensions and enormous speed. What remains, however, is the energy consumption. In a chain composed purely of gold, this would be almost as high as in conventional transistors, due to the considerable heat development in the gold particles. Tim Liedl, Professor of Physics at LMU and PI at the cluster of excellence Nanosystems Initiative Munich (NIM), together with colleagues from Ohio University, has now published an article in the journal Nature Physics, which describes how silver nanoparticles can significantly reduce the energy consumption. The physicists built a sort of miniature test track with a length of around 100 nanometers, composed of three nanoparticles: one gold nanoparticle at each end, with a silver nanoparticle right in the middle. The silver serves as a kind of intermediary between the gold particles while not dissipating energy. To make the silver particle's plasmon oscillate, more excitation energy is required than for gold. Therefore, the energy just flows "around" the silver particle. "Transport is mediated via the coupling of the electromagnetic fields around the so-called hot spots which are created between each of the two gold particles and the silver particle," explains Tim Liedl. "This allows the energy to be transported with almost no loss, and on a femtosecond time scale." The decisive precondition for the experiments was the fact that Tim Liedl and his colleagues are experts in the exquisitely exact placement of nanostructures. This is done by the DNA origami method, which allows different crystalline nanoparticles to be placed at precisely defined nanodistances from each other. Similar experiments had previously been conducted using conventional lithography techniques. However, these do not provide the required spatial precision, in particular where different types of metals are involved. In parallel, the physicists simulated the experimental set-up on the computer - and had their results confirmed. In addition to classical electrodynamic simulations, Alexander Govorov, Professor of Physics at Ohio University, Athens, USA, was able to establish a simple quantum-mechanical model: "In this model, the classical and the quantum-mechanical pictures match very well, which makes it a potential example for the textbooks."


News Article | May 18, 2017
Site: www.sciencedaily.com

Tomorrow's computers will run on light, and gold nanoparticle chains show much promise as light conductors. Now Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich scientists have demonstrated how tiny spots of silver could markedly reduce energy consumption in light-based computation. Today's computers are faster and smaller than ever before. The latest generation of transistors will have structural features with dimensions of only 10 nanometers. If computers are to become even faster and at the same time more energy efficient at these minuscule scales, they will probably need to process information using light particles instead of electrons. This is referred to as "optical computing." Fiber-optic networks already use light to transport data over long distances at high speed and with minimum loss. The diameters of the thinnest cables, however, are in the micrometer range, as the light waves -- with a wavelength of around one micrometer -- must be able to oscillate unhindered. In order to process data on a micro- or even nanochip, an entirely new system is therefore required. One possibility would be to conduct light signals via so-called plasmon oscillations. This involves a light particle (photon) exciting the electron cloud of a gold nanoparticle so that it starts oscillating. These waves then travel along a chain of nanoparticles at approximately 10% of the speed of light. This approach achieves two goals: nanometer-scale dimensions and enormous speed. What remains, however, is the energy consumption. In a chain composed purely of gold, this would be almost as high as in conventional transistors, due to the considerable heat development in the gold particles. Tim Liedl, Professor of Physics at LMU and PI at the cluster of excellence Nanosystems Initiative Munich (NIM), together with colleagues from Ohio University, has now published an article in the journal Nature Physics, which describes how silver nanoparticles can significantly reduce the energy consumption. The physicists built a sort of miniature test track with a length of around 100 nanometers, composed of three nanoparticles: one gold nanoparticle at each end, with a silver nanoparticle right in the middle. The silver serves as a kind of intermediary between the gold particles while not dissipating energy. To make the silver particle's plasmon oscillate, more excitation energy is required than for gold. Therefore, the energy just flows "around" the silver particle. "Transport is mediated via the coupling of the electromagnetic fields around the so-called hot spots which are created between each of the two gold particles and the silver particle," explains Tim Liedl. "This allows the energy to be transported with almost no loss, and on a femtosecond time scale." The decisive precondition for the experiments was the fact that Tim Liedl and his colleagues are experts in the exquisitely exact placement of nanostructures. This is done by the DNA origami method, which allows different crystalline nanoparticles to be placed at precisely defined nanodistances from each other. Similar experiments had previously been conducted using conventional lithography techniques. However, these do not provide the required spatial precision, in particular where different types of metals are involved. In parallel, the physicists simulated the experimental set-up on the computer -- and had their results confirmed. In addition to classical electrodynamic simulations, Alexander Govorov, Professor of Physics at Ohio University, Athens, USA, was able to establish a simple quantum-mechanical model: "In this model, the classical and the quantum-mechanical pictures match very well, which makes it a potential example for the textbooks."


News Article | May 18, 2017
Site: www.cemag.us

Today’s computers are faster and smaller than ever before. The latest generation of transistors will have structural features with dimensions of only 10 nanometers. If computers are to become even faster and at the same time more energy efficient at these minuscule scales, they will probably need to process information using light particles instead of electrons. This is referred to as “optical computing”. Fiber-optic networks already use light to transport data over long distances at high speed and with minimum loss. The diameters of the thinnest cables, however, are in the micrometer range, as the light waves — with a wavelength of around one micrometer — must be able to oscillate unhindered. In order to process data on a micro- or even nanochip, an entirely new system is therefore required. One possibility would be to conduct light signals via so-called plasmon oscillations. This involves a light particle (photon) exciting the electron cloud of a gold nanoparticle so that it starts oscillating. These waves then travel along a chain of nanoparticles at approximately 10 percent of the speed of light. This approach achieves two goals: nanometer-scale dimensions and enormous speed. What remains, however, is the energy consumption. In a chain composed purely of gold, this would be almost as high as in conventional transistors, due to the considerable heat development in the gold particles. Tim Liedl, Professor of Physics at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU) and PI at the cluster of excellence Nanosystems Initiative Munich (NIM), together with colleagues from Ohio University, has now published an article in the journal Nature Physics, which describes how silver nanoparticles can significantly reduce the energy consumption. The physicists built a sort of miniature test track with a length of around 100 nanometers, composed of three nanoparticles: one gold nanoparticle at each end, with a silver nanoparticle right in the middle. The silver serves as a kind of intermediary between the gold particles while not dissipating energy. To make the silver particle’s plasmon oscillate, more excitation energy is required than for gold. Therefore, the energy just flows “around” the silver particle. “Transport is mediated via the coupling of the electromagnetic fields around the so-called hot spots which are created between each of the two gold particles and the silver particle,” explains Liedl. “This allows the energy to be transported with almost no loss, and on a femtosecond time scale.” The decisive precondition for the experiments was the fact that Liedl and his colleagues are experts in the exquisitely exact placement of nanostructures. This is done by the DNA origami method, which allows different crystalline nanoparticles to be placed at precisely defined nanodistances from each other. Similar experiments had previously been conducted using conventional lithography techniques. However, these do not provide the required spatial precision, in particular where different types of metals are involved. In parallel, the physicists simulated the experimental set-up on the computer — and had their results confirmed. In addition to classical electrodynamic simulations, Alexander Govorov, Professor of Physics at Ohio University, was able to establish a simple quantum-mechanical model: “In this model, the classical and the quantum-mechanical pictures match very well, which makes it a potential example for the textbooks.”


News Article | May 18, 2017
Site: www.cemag.us

Today’s computers are faster and smaller than ever before. The latest generation of transistors will have structural features with dimensions of only 10 nanometers. If computers are to become even faster and at the same time more energy efficient at these minuscule scales, they will probably need to process information using light particles instead of electrons. This is referred to as “optical computing”. Fiber-optic networks already use light to transport data over long distances at high speed and with minimum loss. The diameters of the thinnest cables, however, are in the micrometer range, as the light waves — with a wavelength of around one micrometer — must be able to oscillate unhindered. In order to process data on a micro- or even nanochip, an entirely new system is therefore required. One possibility would be to conduct light signals via so-called plasmon oscillations. This involves a light particle (photon) exciting the electron cloud of a gold nanoparticle so that it starts oscillating. These waves then travel along a chain of nanoparticles at approximately 10 percent of the speed of light. This approach achieves two goals: nanometer-scale dimensions and enormous speed. What remains, however, is the energy consumption. In a chain composed purely of gold, this would be almost as high as in conventional transistors, due to the considerable heat development in the gold particles. Tim Liedl, Professor of Physics at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU) and PI at the cluster of excellence Nanosystems Initiative Munich (NIM), together with colleagues from Ohio University, has now published an article in the journal Nature Physics, which describes how silver nanoparticles can significantly reduce the energy consumption. The physicists built a sort of miniature test track with a length of around 100 nanometers, composed of three nanoparticles: one gold nanoparticle at each end, with a silver nanoparticle right in the middle. The silver serves as a kind of intermediary between the gold particles while not dissipating energy. To make the silver particle’s plasmon oscillate, more excitation energy is required than for gold. Therefore, the energy just flows “around” the silver particle. “Transport is mediated via the coupling of the electromagnetic fields around the so-called hot spots which are created between each of the two gold particles and the silver particle,” explains Liedl. “This allows the energy to be transported with almost no loss, and on a femtosecond time scale.” The decisive precondition for the experiments was the fact that Liedl and his colleagues are experts in the exquisitely exact placement of nanostructures. This is done by the DNA origami method, which allows different crystalline nanoparticles to be placed at precisely defined nanodistances from each other. Similar experiments had previously been conducted using conventional lithography techniques. However, these do not provide the required spatial precision, in particular where different types of metals are involved. In parallel, the physicists simulated the experimental set-up on the computer — and had their results confirmed. In addition to classical electrodynamic simulations, Alexander Govorov, Professor of Physics at Ohio University, was able to establish a simple quantum-mechanical model: “In this model, the classical and the quantum-mechanical pictures match very well, which makes it a potential example for the textbooks.”


News Article | February 15, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Modern computer technology is based on the transport of electric charge in semiconductors. But this technology's potential will be reaching its limits in the near future, since the components deployed cannot be miniaturized further. But, there is another option: using an electron's spin, instead of its charge, to transmit information. A team of scientists from Munich and Kyoto is now demonstrating how this works. Computers and mobile devices continue providing ever more functionality. The basis for this surge in performance has been progressively extended miniaturization. However, there are fundamental limits to the degree of miniaturization possible, meaning that arbitrary size reductions will not be possible with semiconductor technology. Researchers around the world are thus working on alternatives. A particularly promising approach involves so-called spin electronics. This takes advantage of the fact that electrons possess, in addition to charge, angular momentum - the spin. The experts hope to use this property to increase the information density and at the same time the functionality of future electronics. Together with colleagues at the Kyoto University in Japan scientists at the Walther-Meißner-Institute (WMI) and the Technical University of Munich (TUM) in Garching have now demonstrated the transport of spin information at room temperature in a remarkable material system. In their experiment, they demonstrated the production, transport and detection of electronic spins in the boundary layer between the materials lanthanum-aluminate (LaAlO2) and strontium-titanate (SrTiO3). What makes this material system unique is that an extremely thin, electrically conducting layer forms at the interface between the two non-conducting materials: a so-called two-dimensional electron gas. The German-Japanese team has now shown that this two-dimensional electron gas transports not only charge, but also spin. "To achieve this we first had to surmount several technical hurdles," says Dr Hans Hübl, scientist at the Chair for Technical Physics at TUM and Deputy Director of the Walther-Meißner-Institute. "The two key questions were: How can spin be transferred to the two-dimensional electron gas and how can the transport be proven?" The scientists solved the problem of spin transfer using a magnetic contact. Microwave radiation forces its electrons into a precession movement, analogous to the wobbling motion of a top. Just as in a top, this motion does not last forever, but rather, weakens in time - in this case by imparting its spin onto the two-dimensional electron gas. The electron gas then transports the spin information to a non-magnetic contact located one micrometer next to the contact. The non-magnetic contact detects the spin transport by absorbing the spin, building up an electric potential in the process. Measuring this potential allowed the researchers to systematically investigate the transport of spin and demonstrate the feasibility of bridging distances up to one hundred times larger than the distance of today's transistors. Based on these results, the team of scientists is now researching to what extent spin electronic components with novel functionality can be implemented using this system of materials. The research was funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) in the context of the Cluster of Excellence "Nanosystems Initiative Munich" (NIM). Strong evidence for d-electron spin transport at room temperature at a LaAlO3/SrTiO3 interface. R. Ohshima, Y. Ando, K. Matsuzaki, T. Susaki, M. Weiler, S. Klingler, H. Huebl, E. Shikoh, T. Shinjo, S.T.B Goennenwein and M. Shiraishi. Nature Materials, Advanced Online Publication 13. Februar 2017.


News Article | February 15, 2017
Site: phys.org

The extremely thin, electrically conducting layer between the materials lanthanum-aluminate (LaAlO2) and strontium-titanate (SrTiO3) transports spin-information from the point of injection to a detector. Credit: Christoph Hohmann / Nanosystems Initiative Munich Modern computer technology is based on the transport of electric charge in semiconductors. But this technology's potential will be reaching its limits in the near future, since the components deployed cannot be miniaturized further. But, there is another option: using an electron's spin, instead of its charge, to transmit information. A team of scientists from Munich and Kyoto is now demonstrating how this works. Computers and mobile devices continue providing ever more functionality. The basis for this surge in performance has been progressively extended miniaturization. However, there are fundamental limits to the degree of miniaturization possible, meaning that arbitrary size reductions will not be possible with semiconductor technology. Researchers around the world are thus working on alternatives. A particularly promising approach involves so-called spin electronics. This takes advantage of the fact that electrons possess, in addition to charge, angular momentum - the spin. The experts hope to use this property to increase the information density and at the same time the functionality of future electronics. Together with colleagues at the Kyoto University in Japan scientists at the Walther-Meißner-Institute (WMI) and the Technical University of Munich (TUM) in Garching have now demonstrated the transport of spin information at room temperature in a remarkable material system. In their experiment, they demonstrated the production, transport and detection of electronic spins in the boundary layer between the materials lanthanum-aluminate (LaAlO2) and strontium-titanate (SrTiO3). What makes this material system unique is that an extremely thin, electrically conducting layer forms at the interface between the two non-conducting materials: a so-called two-dimensional electron gas. The German-Japanese team has now shown that this two-dimensional electron gas transports not only charge, but also spin. "To achieve this we first had to surmount several technical hurdles," says Dr Hans Hübl, scientist at the Chair for Technical Physics at TUM and Deputy Director of the Walther-Meißner-Institute. "The two key questions were: How can spin be transferred to the two-dimensional electron gas and how can the transport be proven?" The scientists solved the problem of spin transfer using a magnetic contact. Microwave radiation forces its electrons into a precession movement, analogous to the wobbling motion of a top. Just as in a top, this motion does not last forever, but rather, weakens in time - in this case by imparting its spin onto the two-dimensional electron gas. The electron gas then transports the spin information to a non-magnetic contact located one micrometer next to the contact. The non-magnetic contact detects the spin transport by absorbing the spin, building up an electric potential in the process. Measuring this potential allowed the researchers to systematically investigate the transport of spin and demonstrate the feasibility of bridging distances up to one hundred times larger than the distance of today's transistors. Based on these results, the team of scientists is now researching to what extent spin electronic components with novel functionality can be implemented using this system of materials. Explore further: Long-distance transport of electron spins for spin-based logic devices More information: Ryo Ohshima et al, Strong evidence for d-electron spin transport at room temperature at a LaAlO3/SrTiO3 interface, Nature Materials (2017). DOI: 10.1038/nmat4857


News Article | October 26, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Physicists at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich have developed a novel nanotool that provides a facile means of characterizing the mechanical properties of biomolecules. Faced with the thousands of proteins and genes found in virtually every cell in the body, biologists want to know how they all work exactly: How do they interact to carry out their specific functions and how do they respond and adapt to perturbations? One of the crucial factors in all of these processes is the question of how biomolecules react to the minuscule forces that operate at the molecular level. LMU physicists led by Professor Tim Liedl, in collaboration with researchers at the Technical University in Braunschweig and at Regensburg University, have come up with a method that allows them to exert a constant force on a single macromolecule with dimensions of a few nanometers, and to observe the molecule's response. The researchers can this way test whether or not a protein or a gene is capable of functioning normally when its structure is deformed by forces of the magnitude expected in the interior of cells. This new method of force spectroscopy uses self-assembled nanoscopic power gauges, requires no macroscopic tools and can analyze large numbers of molecules in parallel, which speeds up the process of data acquisition enormously. With their new approach, the researchers have overcome two fundamental limitations of the most commonly used force spectroscopy instruments. In the case of force microscopy and methodologies based on optical or magnetic tweezers, the molecules under investigation are always directly connected to a macroscopic transducer. They require precise control of the position of an object -- a sphere or a sharp metal tip on the order of a micrometer in size -- that exerts a force on molecules that are anchored to that object. This strategy is technically extremely demanding and the data obtained is often noisy. Furthermore, these procedures can only be used to probe molecules one at a time. The new method dispenses with all these restrictions. "The structures we use operate completely autonomously", explains Philipp Nickels, a member of Tim Liedl's research group. "And we can use them to study countless numbers of molecules simultaneously." The members of the Munich group, which is affiliated with the Cluster of Excellence NIM (Nanosystems Initiative Munich), are acknowledged masters of "DNA origami". This methodology exploits the base-pairing properties of DNA for the construction of nanostructures from strands that fold up and pair locally in a manner determined by their nucleotide sequences. In the present case, the DNA sequences are programmed to interact with each other in such a way that the final structure is a molecular clamp that can be programmed to exert a defined force on a test molecule. To this end, a single-stranded DNA that contains a specific sequence capable of recruiting the molecule of interest spans from one arm of the clamp to the other. The applied force can then be tuned by changing the length of the single strand base by base. "That is equivalent to stretching a spring ever so-o-o slightly," says Nickels. Indeed, by this means it is possible to apply extremely tiny forces between 1 and 15 pN (1 pN = one billionth of a Newton) -- comparable in magnitude to those that act on proteins and genes in cells. "In principle, we can capture any type of biomolecule with these clamps and investigate its physical properties," says Tim Liedl. The effect of the applied force is read out by taking advantage of the phenomenon of Förster Resonant Energy Transfer (FRET). "FRET involves the transfer of energy between two fluorescent dyes and is strongly dependent on the distance between them." explains Professor Philip Tinnefeld from TU Braunschweig. When the force applied to the test molecule is sufficient to deform it, the distance between the fluorescent markers changes and the magnitude of energy transfer serves as an exquisitely precise measure of the distortion of the test molecule on the nanometer scale. Together with Dina Grohmann from Universität Regensburg, the team has used the new technique to investigate the properties of the so-called TATA Binding Protein, an important gene regulator which binds to a specific upstream nucleotide sequence in genes and helps to trigger their expression. They found that the TATA protein can no longer perform its normal function if its target sequence is subjected to a force of more than 6 pN. -- The new technology has just made its debut. But since the clamps are minuscule and operate autonomously, it may well be possible in the future to use them to study molecular processes in living cells in real time.


On page 6682, D. Leister, M. Stefik, D. Fattakhova-Rohlfing, and co-workers describe the fabrication of nanostructured transparent electrodes with remarkably tunable morphologies and adjustable pore sizes from 10–80 nm. Porous conducting scaffolds integrate high amounts of photoactive photosystem proteins. This results in greatly increased photocurrents, making them versatile current collectors for the development of bioelectronic devices. Cover image designed by Christoph Hohmann, Nanosystems Initiative Munich (NIM).


On page 7436, B. V. Lotsch and co-workers report the fabrication of antimony phosphate nanosheet-based thin-film devices. While a resistive thin-film device can detect trace amounts of water, a photonic HSbP O /TiO multilayer structure is effective at optically distinguishing between chemically similar solvent vapors through an intercalative sensing mechanism based on analyte-specific host–guest interactions. Cover Image by Christoph Hohmann, Nanosystems Initiative Munich (NIM).

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