Significance of “Nanophotonics”

What is the News?

Researchers from the University of Hyderabad have developed a technique named “mechanophotonics”. It has allowed them to move, slice, bend, and lift micron-sized wave guiding crystals using atomic force microscopy.

Significance of Research: This ability to manipulate micron-sized crystals with precision and control is very useful in the field of nanophotonics. It focuses on building circuits, driven entirely by photons (light).

What is Nanophotonics or nano-optics?

  • It is the study of the behavior of light on the nanometer scale and the interaction of nanometer-scale objects with light. It is a branch of optics, optical engineering, electrical engineering, and nanotechnology.
    • Nanometer: It is equal to one billionth of a meter. One nanometre can be expressed in scientific notation as 1×10−9 m.

Applications of Nanophotonics:

Solar cells:

  • Solar Cells often work best when the light is absorbed very close to the surface. It is because electrons near the surface have a better chance of being collected. Moreover, the device can be made thinner, which reduces cost. Researchers have investigated a variety of nanophotonic techniques to intensify light in the optimal locations within a solar cell.

Optical Technology

  • Nano-Photonics can help achieve an unprecedented level of miniaturization. It is useful for all-optical-based technologies such as pliable, wearable devices. These are operated by light entirely.

Integrated Circuits(IC)

  • Nanophotonics would make it possible to go beyond current electronics. It will build up integrated-circuits driven entirely by photons(light).

Spectroscopy

  • If a given amount of light energy is squeezed into a smaller and smaller volume (“hot-spot”), the intensity in the hot-spot gets larger and larger. This is especially helpful in nonlinear optics, an example is surface-enhanced Raman scattering.

Source: The Hindu

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