Source: King’s College of London
Researchers at King’s College London have devised a process whereby they were able to separate colors and create ‘rainbows’ on a metal surface using nanoscale structures. This new research may lead to improved solar cells and LED-displays.
Previously, King’s College was instrumental in the discovery of separating and projecting different colors, around 150 years ago. Their research had led to the invention of color televisions and other displays. However, this time it is all about maneuvering light on a nanoscale. Nanoscale ‘rainbows’ could have huge impact on the sensing of chemical and biological agents, imaging and spectroscopy and possibly on solar cells, LED displays, and TV screens.
Using specially designed nanostructures, researchers from the Biophysics and Nanotechnology Group at King’s trapped light of different colors at different positions of a nanostructured area. The ‘trapped’ rainbow could be created only a gold film with a dimension on the order of a few micrometers. Such a gold film is about 100 times smaller than the width of a human hair.
Professor Anatoly Zayats, who led the research, explained that nanostructure of various kinds is being considered for solar cell research & applications to increase light absorbency. In their research, the solar cells can be kept illuminated at a wide range of angles in addition to a wide range of wavelengths. When the nanostructures are used in reverse for screens and displays, they will help in a wider viewing angle for all feasible colors.
The research will be crucial in providing ‘color’ sensitivity in infrared imaging systems for security and product control, said co-author Dr Jean-Sebastien Bouillard. He also said, that the nanostructure research will allow for building of microscale spectrometers for sensing applications.
Nanoscale ‘rainbows’ will have a major effect on light capturing devices used in applications from light sources, displays, photo detectors and solar cells to sensing and light manipulation in optical circuits for tele and data communications.