Physicists develop 3D metamaterial nanolens that achieves super-resolution imaging

Jan 18, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- A research team from Northeastern University has developed a new nanolens that can beat the diffraction limit to achieve so-called super-resolution imaging, better than can be achieved by current technology. The nanolens is made from arrays of nanowires also called as metamaterials - manufactured materials not found in nature - and has superior imaging capabilities compared to current imaging technologies.

The research was conducted by a team led Srinivas Sridhar, Ph.D., distinguished professor and Director of the Electronic Materials Research Institute at Northeastern University, and is featured in the January 11 issue of the journal .

Conventional lenses construct an image of an object only using ordinary waves, discarding information regarding the fine, tiny details of the object that are contained in “evanescent” waves. For this reason, conventional optical systems, such as microscopes, cannot accurately image very small, nano-sized objects.

Using a different approach, the research team organized and packaged nanowires to design a new type of lens. By precisely aligning and arranging millions of nanowires - each one measuring 20 in diameter - they were able to control how light passed through the lens. The lens is able to depict a clear, high-resolution image of nano-sized objects because it uses both the ordinary and evanescent waves to construct the image.

“This is the best superlens realized so far and is a significant development in the field of high resolution ,” said Sridhar.

The researchers expect that the technology can be used to improve and lithography techniques.

“We have the capability for the large-scale production of these nanolenses and hope to manufacture these devices in the near future,” added Sridhar.

Explore further: New 'topological insulator' could lead to superfast computers

Related Stories

New nanotech research to enhance future digital imaging

Jul 10, 2008

A team of researchers from Northeastern’s Electronic Materials Research Institute has published research that has resulted in a new breakthrough in the field of nanophotonics, the study of light at the nanoscale level.

New 'superlens' reveals hidden nanostructures

Sep 14, 2006

A microscope used to scan nanostructures can be dramatically enhanced by using a 'superlens,' reports an international team of scientists from the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Biochemistry and The University of Texas at ...

First hyperlens for sound waves created

Oct 25, 2009

Ultrasound and underwater sonar devices could "see" a big improvement thanks to development of the world's first acoustic hyperlens. Created by researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley ...

First acoustic metamaterial 'superlens' created

Jun 24, 2009

A team of researchers at the University of Illinois has created the world's first acoustic "superlens," an innovation that could have practical implications for high-resolution ultrasound imaging, non-destructive ...

Recommended for you

How cloud chambers revealed subatomic particles

8 hours ago

Atoms are made of electrons, protons and neutrons. Protons and neutrons are in turn made up of quarks. These are just some of the elementary particles that make up the foundation of modern particle physics. ...

When a doughnut becomes an apple

8 hours ago

In experiments using the wonder material graphene, ETH researchers have been able to demonstrate a phenomenon predicted by a Russian physicist more than 50 years ago. They analyzed a layer structure that ...

Uncovering the forbidden side of molecules

Sep 21, 2014

Researchers at the University of Basel in Switzerland have succeeded in observing the "forbidden" infrared spectrum of a charged molecule for the first time. These extremely weak spectra offer perspectives ...

User comments : 3

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Nemo
not rated yet Jan 18, 2010
baudrunner
not rated yet Jan 19, 2010
The idea of exploiting the evanescent field, which manifests very close to a light source, is not new. A study on materials with a negative refractive index for the purpose of harnessing these stationary waves for extreme image resolution on the nano scale was written up in a New Scientist article in October, 2000. Their potential applications extend beyond observing nano-scale particles. These materials can also be used to greatly increase storage density on optical recording devices such as hard disk drives.
Bswitz
not rated yet Jan 19, 2010
I'm excited for the many applications that this technology offers - "the biomedical field" will certainly benefit greatly; but what interests me even more is how it will progress our understanding and (dare I say it) reverse-engineering of the human brain. Kudos to Northeastern's Materials team.