Golden nanocups for focusing light

Scientists have used metallic nanoparticles to manipulate light in more effective ways than conventional optical materials to tap extra energy from the sunlight.
Metamaterials
Metamaterials have an edge over naturally occurring materials because they can cause dramatic physical effect with the interaction of light. These materials have very fine structures with features smaller than the wavelength of light which can pass on unique and fascinating optical behaviors.
Nanocups
The material having very tiny, cup-shaped particles called nanocups can collect light from any direction and emits it in a single direction.
Rice University researchers have used cup-shaped gold nanostructures which behave like three-dimensional nano-antennas to bend light in a more manipulative manner. The gold nanocups interrelate with light in two major ways: axially, the up-down direction, or transverse, the left-right track. The transverse mode is by far the more powerful of the two.
When the nanocups are illuminated, the transverse interaction exhibits a strong scattering resonance depending on the orientation of the cups, a property that has not been observed in studies of similar structures.
Production
Thin layers of gold are deposited from various angles onto polystyrene or latex nanoparticles. These are allocated haphazardly on a glass substrate. The cups that formed around the particles – and the dielectric particles themselves – are into an elastomer and lifted off of the substrate to produce transparent structures all oriented the same way.
This material derives its properties from its structure and not the composition but captures light from any direction and focuses it in a single direction. The material not only retransmits the color and brightness of what is behind, but also bends the light around, preserving the original phase information of the signal.
The scientists were able to lift the nanocups off of a structure and preserve their orientation.
Applications
Nanocup ensembles can focus light in a precise direction no matter where the incident light is coming. This factor can be used to its greatest advantage in thermal solar power. Capitalizing on this property, lots of money can be saved which is being spent on machinery. Because here a solar panel doesn’t have to track the sun yet focuses light into a beam that’s always on target. Utilizing nanocup metamaterial to pass on optical signals between computer chips has potential and enhanced spectroscopy and super lenses are also viable possibilities.


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