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Tag archives: nanotechnology

Breaking the diffraction limit

The nanophotonics panel: Jennifer Dionne (left), Satoshi Kawata (middle) and Adarsh Sandhu

The nanophotonics panel: Jennifer Dionne (left), Satoshi Kawata (middle) and Adarsh Sandhu.

By Hamish Johnston

At first glance, visible light and nanotechnology seem incompatible because of the diffraction limit, which dictates that features smaller than about half the wavelength of light cannot be resolved optically. For visible light, the diffraction limit is about 300 nm and this means that there is no point in trying to make conventional optical components that are any smaller.

But that pessimistic outlook has changed over the past decade or so thanks to the development of nanophotonics, which makes use of near-field (or evanescent) light and plasmons to manipulate light on length scales much smaller than the diffraction limit. Today, nanophotonics is being used across a range of disciplines, including biological imaging, telecommunications, solar energy and semiconductor processing.

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Physics World 2014 Focus on Nanotechnology is out now

By Matin Durrani

Physics World Focus on Nanotechnology June 2014

One of the beauties of physics, I’m sure you’ll agree, is that it stretches from the very big (cosmology) to the very small (particle physics). In fact, the great questions at the heart of those fields may well have attracted you to physics in the first place. But a lot goes on in-between these extremes, not least at the nanoscale. It might lack the glamour of research into dark energy or the Higgs boson, but nanotechnology has far more of an immediate impact on everyday life than physics at either end of the length scale.

If you want to find out about some of those applications, take a look at the latest Physics World focus issue on nanotechnology, out now in print and digital formats. It covers, for example, the work of the UK firm P2i, which has developed a “dunkable” nano-coating that can keep a mobile phone functioning after being submerged in water for up to half an hour. Could be handy next time you go swimming.

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The Physics World 2013 Focus on Nanotechnology is now out

Cover of 2013 PW Nanotechnology Focus Issue

New for 2013.

By Matin Durrani

There’s just one purpose to this blog entry – to get you to check out the latest Physics World focus issue on nanotechnology.

Created in collaboration with our sister website nanotechweb.org, the new focus issue, which you can read in digital-magazine format simply by clicking this link, is packed with great content including a feature by Nobel-prize winning physicist Kostya Novoselov, who shared the 2010 prize with Andre Geim for their work on graphene.

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Glass-blowing at the nanoscale

By James Dacey

Image og nano-capillary tubes

(Courtesy: Alain Herzog/EPFL)

From the Romans to the studio artists of today, glass blowing is as much an art form as it is a technical discipline. In the same spirit as this creative lineage, a group of researchers in Switzerland has invented a technique for creating nano-sized capillary tubes of bespoke sizes.

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