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IIT Guwahati and Columbia University researchers unveil optical driving technique for nanopatterning

BNE News Desk , May 24, 2024
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Guwahati: A new method for nanopatterning, developed through a collaborative effort between Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati and Columbia University in the USA, has been unveiled by scientists.

The approach employs a simple tabletop infrared (IR) laser, marking a significant departure from conventional nanopatterning methods that typically require expensive equipment and controlled environments. Nanopatterning, which involves creating patterns at the nanometer scale, holds immense potential for various applications including advanced light detectors, solar cells, lasers, and light-emitting diodes. Traditional methods often necessitate specialised infrastructure such as clean rooms, posing limitations in accessibility and cost-effectiveness.

Published in the esteemed journal Science Advances, the research led by Dr. Rishi Maiti, Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics at IIT Guwahati, introduces a technique termed "optical driving" to induce vibrations in materials at their resonance frequency. This process, dubbed "unzipping," enables precise cleavage along clean lines, yielding nanostructures measuring mere nanometers in width.

"Through the "optical driving" technique, the researchers successfully cleaved hexagonal boron nitride using an infrared laser, resulting in atomically sharp lines across the sample", the IIT-Guwahati revealed. "This breakthrough facilitates the creation of nano-dimensional cavities capable of trapping phonon-polaritons, unique quasi-particles formed from the interaction of light and vibrations."

Dr. Rishi Maiti has envisioned applications ranging from electrode fabrication on 2D materials to quantum technologies, emphasizing the simplicity and effectiveness of the newly developed technique.

"The unveiling of this groundbreaking optical driving process opens doors to a myriad of possibilities in nanoscience and technology, promising far-reaching implications for industrial and research applications alike", the IIT-Guwahati said in a release.

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