Silica nanowires

Using a two-step drawing process, we fabricate long freestanding silica wires with diameters down to 50 nm that show atomic-level surface smoothness and excellent diameter uniformity. While other researchers have synthesised nanowires with smaller diameters, previous work has not yielded such uniform and smooth structures. The length of the wires can be up to tens of millimeters, giving them an aspect ratio larger than 50,000. Light can be launched along these wires by optical evanescent coupling. The wires allow single-mode operation and have very low optical losses within the visible to near-infrared spectral range. Mechanical tests show that the wires have tensile strength in excess of 5 GPa -- stronger than spider silk. The wires are also resilient and flexible, easily bending into microscopic loops.
Wrapping light around a hair: optical sensing at the nanoscale, at Working together: Research & Development Partnerships in Homeland Security (Boston, MA), Wednesday, April 27, 2005:
Can light be guided by a fiber whose diameter is much smaller than the wavelength of the light? Can we mold the flow of light on the micrometer scale so it wraps, say, around a hair? Until recently the answer to these questions was ‘no’. We developed a technique for drawing long, free-standing silica wires with diameters down to 50 nm that have a surface smoothness at the atomic level and a high uniformity of diameter. Light can be launched into these silica nanowires by optical evanescent coupling and the wires allow low-loss single-mode operation. They can be bent sharply, making it... Read more about Wrapping light around a hair: optical sensing at the nanoscale
Wrapping light around a hair, at RET/REU Seminar, Harvard University (Cambridge, MA), Wednesday, July 19, 2006:
Can light be guided by a fiber whose diameter is much smaller than the wavelength of the light? Can we mold the flow of light on the micrometer scale so it wraps, say, around a hair? Until recently the answer to these questions was ‘no’. We developed a technique for drawing long, free-standing silica wires with diameters down to 50 nm that have a surface smoothness at the atomic level and a high uniformity of diameter. Light can be launched into these silica nanowires by optical evanescent coupling and the wires allow low-loss single-mode operation. They can be bent sharply, making it... Read more about Wrapping light around a hair
Silica nanowires: manipulating light at the nanoscale, at Asia-Pacific Optical Communications 2007 (Wuhan, China), Saturday, November 3, 2007
Can light be guided by a fiber whose diameter is much smaller than the wavelength of the light? Can we mold the flow of light on the micrometer scale so it wraps, say, around a hair? Until recently the answer to these questions was ‘no’. We developed a technique for drawing long, free-standing silica wires with diameters down to 20 nm that have a surface smoothness at the atomic level and a high uniformity of diameter. Light can be launched into these silica nanowires by optical evanescent coupling and the wires allow low-loss single-mode operation. They can be bent sharply, making it... Read more about Silica nanowires: manipulating light at the nanoscale
Nonlinear optics at the nanoscale, at Research Seminar, University of Twente (Enschede, The Netherlands), Friday, June 12, 2009:
We explore nonlinear optical phenomena at the nanoscale by launching femtosecond laser pulses into long silica nanowires. Using evanescent coupling between wires we demonstrate a number of nanophotonic devices. At high intensity the nanowires produce a strong supercontinuum over short interaction lengths (less than 20 mm) and at a very low energy threshold (about 1 nJ), making them ideal sources of coherent white-light for nanophotonic applications. The spectral broadening reveals an optimal fiber diameter to enhance nonlinear effects with minimal dispersion. We also present a device that... Read more about Nonlinear optics at the nanoscale
Silica Nanowires for Microphotonic Devices, at NSEC AP298 Seminar, Harvard University (Cambridge, MA), Monday, April 18, 2011:
Can light be guided by a fiber whose diameter is much smaller than the wavelength of the light? Can we mold the flow of light on the micrometer scale so it wraps, say, around a hair? Until recently the answer to these questions was "no". We developed a technique for drawing long, free-standing silica wires with diameters down to 50 nm that have a surface smoothness at the atomic level and a high uniformity of diameter. Light can be launched into these silica nanowires by optical evanescent coupling and the wires allow low-loss single-mode operation. They can be bent sharply, making it... Read more about Silica Nanowires for Microphotonic Devices
Nonlinear optics at the nanoscale, at 2013 Biannual Meeting of Norwegian Physical Society (Bergen, Norway), Friday, August 9, 2013:
We explore nonlinear optical phenomena at the nanoscale by launching femtosecond laser pulses into long silica nanowires. Using evanescent coupling between wires we demonstrate a number of nanophotonic devices. At high intensity the nanowires produce a strong supercontinuum over short interaction lengths (less than 20 mm) and at a very low energy threshold (about 1 nJ), making them ideal sources of coherent white-light for nanophotonic applications. The spectral broadening reveals an optimal fiber diameter to enhance nonlinear effects with minimal dispersion. We also present a device that... Read more about Nonlinear optics at the nanoscale
Wrapping light around a hair, at Physics Colloquium, University of Missouri-Rolla (Rolla, MO), Thursday, October 21, 2004:
Can light be guided by a fiber whose diameter is much smaller than the wavelength of the light? Can we mold the flow of light on the micrometer scale so it wraps, say, around a hair? Until recently the answer to these questions was ‘no’. We developed a technique for drawing long, free-standing silica wires with diameters down to 50 nm that have a surface smoothness at the atomic level and a high uniformity of diameter. Light can be launched into these silica nanowires by optical evanescent coupling and the wires allow low-loss single-mode operation. They can be bent sharply, making it... Read more about Wrapping light around a hair
Wrapping light around a hair, at Physics Colloquium, Northwestern University (Evanston, IL), Friday, November 18, 2005:
Can light be guided by a fiber whose diameter is much smaller than the wavelength of the light? Can we mold the flow of light on the micrometer scale so it wraps, say, around a hair? Until recently the answer to these questions was ‘no’. We developed a technique for drawing long, free-standing silica wires with diameters down to 50 nm that have a surface smoothness at the atomic level and a high uniformity of diameter. Light can be launched into these silica nanowires by optical evanescent coupling and the wires allow low-loss single-mode operation. They can be bent sharply, making it... Read more about Wrapping light around a hair
Nonlinear optics at the nanoscale, at 15th International Conference on Luminescence and Optical Spectroscopy of Condensed Matter (Lyon, France), Monday, July 7, 2008:
We explore nonlinear optical phenomena at the nanoscale by launching femtosecond laser pulses into long silica nanowires. Silica nanowires [1] provide strong mode confinement in a simple cylindrical silica-core/air-cladding geometry, representing a model system for the study of the nonlinear propagation of short pulses inside fibers. We observe supercontinuum generation by femtosecond laser pulses in silica fiber tapers of minimum diameters as small as 90 nm and we used loops of these wires to demonstrate light-by-light modulation.

Supercontinuum generation refers to extreme spectral...

Read more about Nonlinear optics at the nanoscale
Nonlinear optics at the nanoscale, at Institute of Physics in Ireland 2009/2010 Lecture, Trinity College (Dublin, Ireland), Friday, March 12, 2010:
We explore nonlinear optical phenomena at the nanoscale by launching femtosecond laser pulses into long silica nanowires. Using evanescent coupling between wires we demonstrate a number of nanophotonic devices. At high intensity the nanowires produce a strong supercontinuum over short interaction lengths (less than 20 mm) and at a very low energy threshold (about 1 nJ), making them ideal sources of coherent white-light for nanophotonic applications. The spectral broadening reveals an optimal fiber diameter to enhance nonlinear effects with minimal dispersion. We also present a device that... Read more about Nonlinear optics at the nanoscale
Silica Nanowires Part I: Optical properties, at Royal Society Seminar on Science and Technology of Silica Nanowires, Kavli Institute of the Royal Society (Milton Keynes, United Kingdom), Thursday, November 8, 2012:
Can light be guided by a fiber whose diameter is much smaller than the wavelength of the light? Can we mold the flow of light on the micrometer scale so it wraps, say, around a hair? Until recently the answer to these questions was "no". We developed a technique for drawing long, free-standing silica wires with diameters down to 20 nm that have a surface smoothness at the atomic level and a high uniformity of diameter. Light can be launched into these silica nanowires by optical evanescent coupling and the wires allow low-loss single-mode operation. They can be bent sharply, making it... Read more about Silica Nanowires Part I: Optical properties
Nonlinear optics at the nanoscale, at Condensed Matter Colloquium, University of Utah (Salt Lake City, UT), Tuesday, March 3, 2015:
We explore nonlinear optical phenomena at the nanoscale by launching femtosecond laser pulses into long silica nanowires. Using evanescent coupling between wires we demonstrate a number of nanophotonic devices. At high intensity the nanowires produce a strong supercontinuum over short interaction lengths (less than 20 mm) and at a very low energy threshold (about 1 nJ), making them ideal sources of coherent white-light for nanophotonic applications. The spectral broadening reveals an optimal fiber diameter to enhance nonlinear effects with minimal dispersion. We also present a device that... Read more about Nonlinear optics at the nanoscale
Wrapping light around a hair, at Centre of Excellence for Ultrahigh-bandwidth Devices for Optical Systems Seminar, University of Sydney (Sydney, Australia), Friday, December 8, 2006:
Can light be guided by a fiber whose diameter is much smaller than the wavelength of the light? Can we mold the flow of light on the micrometer scale so it wraps, say, around a hair? Until recently the answer to these questions was ‘no’. We developed a technique for drawing long, free-standing silica wires with diameters down to 50 nm that have a surface smoothness at the atomic level and a high uniformity of diameter. Light can be launched into these silica nanowires by optical evanescent coupling and the wires allow low-loss single-mode operation. They can be bent sharply, making it... Read more about Wrapping light around a hair

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