Advance Nanotech Researchers Test Novel Optic Device with Sub-Picosecond Switching Speed; Partnership with Cambridge University's CAPE Center Could Yield Improved, More Cost-Effective Devices for Photonics and Optical Networking
Ultrashort lasers are widely used for optical communication, material processing, marking and drilling, and medical diagnostics and therapeutics. The AVNA/CAPE lasers are compact and employ only a tenth of a milligram of carbon nanotube material at a cost of about ten cents per device. The device, which produces sub-picosecond pulses, can be quickly and easily plugged into existing laser systems without sophisticated and time-consuming alignments traditionally associated with modifying optics equipment.
“Since the AVNA/CAPE laser combines the unique optical properties of carbon nanotubes to generate ultrashort pulses in a range of operating wavelengths, with the mechanical and structural strength of nanotubes to handle high optical powers and energies, we expect to find wide-spread application in optics and laser technology”
"Our component can be inserted into a laser system and immediately produce stable, ultrashort, high-power optical pulses without the need for precise alignment," said Professor Ian White, the head of Photonics Research at CAPE. "In addition, the intrinsic robustness of our working prototype means that it can be easily moved and shipped without any risk of damage."
Carbon nanotubes are vital to the advancement of nanotechnology due to their extreme electronic, optical and mechanical properties, and Advance Nanotech is currently funding a variety of carbon nanotubes-related research projects. In addition to pulse lasers, nanotubes play a key role in a variety of materials-based research projects ranging from space elevators to artificial muscles to ultrahigh-speed flywheels. Single walled carbon nanotubes can be insulating, semiconducting or metallic depending on growth conditions. This wide range of physical properties enables a plethora of electronic, optical and material applications, including transistors, interconnects in integrated circuits, and components for optical networks. Successful commercialization of carbon nanotube applications, such as the AVNA/CAPE laser, requires robust, manufacturable and inexpensive control of the properties of the nanotubes.
"Since the AVNA/CAPE laser combines the unique optical properties of carbon nanotubes to generate ultrashort pulses in a range of operating wavelengths, with the mechanical and structural strength of nanotubes to handle high optical powers and energies, we expect to find wide-spread application in optics and laser technology," said Dr. Peter Gammel, senior vice president, Electronics at Advance Nanotech. "We expect that the compact and robust demonstrator fabricated by AVNA's scientists in Cambridge is only the first of a long series of increasingly sophisticated and high-performance devices."
The investment in the ultrashort laser project was made in partnership with CAPE, the Center for Advanced Photonics and Electronics, at the Department of Engineering of the University of Cambridge. CAPE is an integrated research facility for electrical engineering with a staff of 20 academics, 70 post-doctoral researchers and 170 research students. CAPE is funded by Advance Nanotech, Alps Electric Company Limited, Dow Corning Corporation and Marconi Corporation plc, and is designed to encourage research activities to proceed to development and exploitation in close collaboration with industry. The program enables designers and engineers within academia and industry to benefit from the burgeoning developments in advanced photonics and electronics. In the past five years numerous patents have been filed and ten spin-out companies have been formed from projects that began in the Electrical Division within Cambridge's Department of Engineering.
Advance Nanotech is currently funding 27 portfolio companies in the electronics, biopharma and materials industries. The firm provides services ranging from funding to human capital and research equipment essential to ensuring that the most promising companies can accelerate the path to rapid commercialization. In this way, investor exposure to any particular technology is mitigated with Advance Nanotech retaining the option to increase investment in those technologies that successfully mature.
About Advance Nanotech, Inc.
Advance Nanotech is dedicated to the successful commercialization of disruptive nanotechnologies to produce nano-enabled products. Advance provides financing and support services including commercialization guidance, project and infrastructure management, leadership assets, and counsel on intellectual property, licensing and regulatory issues to ensure maximum market potential. Advance Nanotech's diversified portfolio of 27 nanotechnologies, of which the company holds a majority stake in 23, impacts a range of applications, including, but not limited to sensors, medical therapeutics and composites. Advance is forging partnerships with leading manufacturers and universities in Europe, Asia and North America to transform innovative nanotechnology concepts into practical solutions.
About the Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge
The Department of Engineering is the largest department in the University of Cambridge, representing approximately ten percent of the University's activities by the majority of common metrics, and is one of Europe's largest integrated engineering departments. It achieves the highest standards in both research and teaching. Its international reputation attracts the best students, academics, sponsors and partners from around the world. More details about the Department and the latest news can be found on its website at www.eng.cam.ac.uk.
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