Tuesday, 03 February 2015
Researchers at Antwerp University have, for the first time, succeeded in ordering organic molecules in nanotubes. This discovery could make communication by fiber optic cable even faster in the future. According to the University, the discovery is of major importance to fundamental research. The scientists were inspired by magnets. They applied the principle of poles that attract or repel to the molecules in carbon nanotubes. They are so small, a billionth of a meter, that the molecules have to align in the same direction.
First of all, the researchers Jochen Campo, Sofie Cambré and Wim Wenseleers verified the application with non-organic molecules. However, in fiber optics, the modulation happened quite slowly, which made the transfer of data quite slow. Due to this, the researchers did a study using organic molecules. The molecules dispersed in an asymmetric manner in the nanotube, meaning a more rapid data transfer.
“This technique can be applied very diversely. In this article, we showed it is useful in fiber optics”, said Wim Wenseleers. “In principal, with organic material, we can transfer existing data more rapidly in fiber optic cables by rapidly modulating light”.
The researchers also evoked the long term potential of this discovery for magnetic systems like hard drives. The results of the study will be published on Monday in Nature Nanotechnology, one of the most reputable reviews.