Applied Physics

Lightly Sprung

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Science  06 Jul 2007:
Vol. 317, Issue 5834, pp. 19
DOI: 10.1126/science.317.5834.19a

In a Fabry-Pérot interferometer, two closely spaced reflective surfaces cause multiple reflections and only partial transmission of an incoming light beam, leading to multiple interfering transmitted waves. Adjusting the distance between the mirrors finely tunes the transmitted spectrum—a useful technique in optical analysis. Dice et al. manufactured a nanospring-based interferometer (shown below) through glancing angle deposition of the organic material tris(8-hydroxyquinoline) aluminum (Alq3). The springs were deposited between conducting aluminum layers that transmitted ~80% of incident light. A 6-V potential compresses the springs by 1.2 nm, shifting the peak transmission wavelength by 1.6 nm. Because Alq3 is much softer than silicon dioxide, a material previously used for nanospring fabrication, the extensive compression does not induce breakdown of the springs. Envisioned applications include a movable mirror element in microelectrochemical systems and a pressure-sensitive optical transducer. — MSL

Appl. Phys. Lett. 90, 253101 (2007).

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