By Will Soutter
Scientists at the University of Sheffield have created a radical analytical tool that can be used to study nanometer scale devices without damaging them. The device which adopts nuclear magnetic resonance technique will enable further advancement in nanotechnology by facilitating researchers to gain better insight into nanostructures.
Before the development of this innovative tool by the Department of Physics and Astronomy in University of Sheffield, researchers have had to deal with the limitation of existing study techniques in which the materials are irrevocably damaged. New nanoscale materials can be developed only if there is an understanding of the formation process of existing nanostructures and their properties. When the nanostructures are damaged during experimentation, the information on the vital link between the structural and photonic or electronic characteristics of the material is unobtainable.
The new non-invasive nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) probing opens up new vistas for nanoengineering by enabling complete characterization of new materials and subsequently paving the way for new device fabrication techniques.
Research team lead, Dr Alexander Tartakovskii stated that the focus of their research was semiconductor quantum dots for their potential photonic applications and future quantum computer applications. Through the study, his team was able to gain more insight into the chemical composition of quantum dots and the difference in atomic alignment within the quantum dots vis-à-vis perfect crystals. The quantum dots remained intact for further magnetic and optical property measurements even after the NMR probing.