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Method Found to Measure Conductivity at Very High Speed


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With the constant push for faster and faster electronics, it is becoming necessary to look to new materials and technologies to continue progressing. For this to happen though, we have to understand the physics involved, which can be difficult to do in some circumstances, such as at very high frequencies. Researchers at Rice University though, have recently found a way to measure the conductivity of nanowires at optical frequencies using plasmons.

Plasmons are electrons and photons coupled together and are made by firing photons at a metal. Many are interested in using them in future technologies because they possess useful properties of both electrons and photons. In this study, the researchers worked with a kind of light-activated capacitor made of two nearby plasmonic nanodisks. When these disks are connected by a wire, the charge of the disks will actually flow back and forth along the wire at optical frequencies. Changes to the wire's conductivity, even small changes, would alter the optical signature.

This ability to measure changes in conductance at optical frequencies could prove invaluable for testing nanowires for use in future devices. Current methods are not capable of making such high frequency measurements at the nanoscale, so this research could be key in letting technology reach these extreme scales.

Source: Rice University

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