METHODS OF MANUFACTURING CARBON NANOTUBES
An optical antenna collects, modifies and emits energy at light wavelengths. Linear conductors sized to correspond to the light wavelengths are used. Nonlinear junctions of small dimension are used to rectify an alternating waveform induced upon the conductors by the lightwave electromagnetic energy. The optical antenna and junctions are effective to produce harmonic energy at light wavelengths. The linear conductors may be comprised of carbon nanotubes that are attached to a substrate material, which may then be connected to an electrical port.
This is based on U.S. provisional patent application by Robert J. Crowley, Ser. No. 60/036,085, filed on Jan. 16, 1997.TECHNICAL FIELD
This invention relates to small aligned conductors and junctions configured to efficiently admit, modify and emit electromagnetic radiation around light wavelengths.BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Optical materials employing microstructures that exhibit the property of birefringence are commonly used to generate harmonic energy around light wavelengths. These materials are useful for frequency doubling, tripling or multiplying one or more fundamental inputs. Layered crystal structures are known to exhibit practical nonlinear transmission of light energy that usually result in harmonic generation with efficiencies that are generally low. Attempts have been made to optimize the harmonic generating efficiency-of various materials by orienting molecules sandwiched between substrate materials. In U.S. Pat. No. 5,589,235, an applied magnetic field is used to pre-align molecules, and then a source of radiation is used to cross-link the molecules so that they maintain their position after the magnetic field is removed. In another attempt to fabricate a device that exhibits high harmonic generating efficiency, U.S. Pat. No. 5,380,410 describes a method by which periodic electrodes may be fabricated to provide inversion regions that improve the efficiency of a ferroelectric material which exhibits an intrinsic nonlinear optical property. The fabrication of a nonlinear optical region or layer on a material that generally has inherently linear characteristics is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,157,674 which teaches a process by which a charge transfer dopant is introduced to produce a semiconducting region on a bulk glass or microcrystalline substrate.
One apparent drawback to these approaches is wavelength-dependent attenuation. This attenuation occurs when lightwave energy propagates through lossy materials, resulting in attenuation. In general, both polymer and glass substrate materials exhibit high attenuation through absorption in the near UV and UV regions. Microcrystalline materials that utilize birefringence generally must have sufficient light path propagation length to produce sufficient phase changes for significant harmonic generation. Longer path lengths usually result in even greater attenuation.
Researchers have had to resort to modification of bulk materials or orientation of molecules in a solution or matrix to produce structures that exhibit optical nonlinearity, and usable harmonic generation. These researchers have not been able to successfully utilize practices that are now common in the electromagnetic radio electronics fields, even though light waves are merely electromagnetic waves of short wavelengths, primarily because techniques and materials for the fabrication of practical electromagnetically responsive elements in the small sizes necessary for efficient use at light wavelengths in the ranges of 10,000 nanometers and shorter are not available. Optical crystal materials and composite materials, due to their structure, make it difficult to optimize the orientation of individual electromagnetically responsive elements.
An important aspect of successful fabrication and use of radio frequency nonlinear harmonic generating materials is the ability to control the orientation and sizes of those elements with respect to various electromagnetic fields. This is possible since radio frequency waves, and even microwaves, are relatively long. Developers of nonlinear, harmonic-producing devices for radio wave applications have been able to successfully fabricate numerous circuits, cavities, transmission lines, junctions and other structures scaled to radio wavelengths. This practice has been extended over time to include VHF, UHF, microwave and so-called millimeter wave regimes, and has included discrete components, transmission lines and antenna systems that have been scaled down to operate optimally at ever-higher frequencies.
Designers have also been able to fabricate nonlinear junctions that are small with respect to the wavelengths involved. These junctions are capable of rectification, mixing, detection and amplification over a portion of the full cycle of the alternating current, electromagnetic wave energy, and include conventional diodes, Shottky diodes, tunnel diodes, transistors, field effect transistors, bipolar transistors including discrete components and mass array fabricated devices such as integrated circuits and linear and two-dimensional arrays. harmonic energy near light wavelengths is described comprising the steps of exposing a conductor to an infrared, visible or ultraviolet electromagnetic light energy having an alternating waveform, inducing a current with electromagnetic energy in the conductor to cause an electrical charge to cross a junction, and emitting at least a portion of the energy at a harmonic multiple of the light energy.
In one aspect, the invention relates to the use of a substrate material to support carbon nanotubes which are used as frequency selective electrical conductors. In one embodiment, the conductors are polarized with respect to the substrate. In another embodiment, a foraminous substrate is used to influence and support the orientation of the electrical conductors. In another embodiment, the foraminous substrate supports a nanoparticle which creates at least a portion of a nonlinear electrical junction. In another aspect, the invention relates to a conductive element with a non-linear charge transfer region that is small with respect to that element.
In one aspect, the invention relates to an antenna structure that admits and radiates at light wavelengths. In another aspect, a lightwave electromagnetic antenna having a linear conductor is attached to a substrate material, with the linear conductor having an electrical length sized to respond to an electromagnetic light wavelength. In another aspect, the invention relates to antennas with conducting elements of less than 2000 nanometers in length that operate near light wavelengths. In one embodiment, the conductors form a traveling wave structure. In another embodiment, the conductors are arranged to form a log periodic structure.
In another aspect, the invention relates to a conductive element with an electrical length about a multiple of ¼ wavelength of a light wavelength. In one embodiment, the electrical length of the conductor inclusive of a junction may be about 600 nanometers corresponding to ½ wavelength of infrared light. Impinging infrared light energy is collected, rectified and reradiated at a multiple of the infrared light frequency with high efficiency. In another embodiment, the electrical lengths of the conductor may be in a range from about 20 nanometers to about 2000 nanometers corresponding to ultraviolet, visible and infrared light. In one embodiment, the lengths of the conductors may be staggered to form a broadband structure. In one embodiment, the conductors are arranged in a generally parallel relationship.
In another aspect, the invention relates to an array of conductive elements with electrical lengths around a multiple of ¼ wavelength of light, arranged so that at least one optical port and at least one electrical port, are held in communication via a nonlinear junction. In one embodiment, the electrical port is a terminal on a optical device which modifies a charge transfer characteristic of a junction. In one embodiment, a device for rectifying an alternating waveform occurring around light wavelengths is comprised of a short conductor of less than 10,000 nanometers in length and a nonlinear region with an electrical length less than the light wavelength. In another embodiment, the nonlinear junction region consists of a nanoparticle. In another embodiment, the junction is a polarized, doped region with an electrical length shorter than ½ of the light wavelength.
In another aspect, the invention relates to the process by which the growth of lightwave antenna elements upon a substrate may be controlled by observation of an optical property. In one embodiment, various lengths of nanotubes are grown in a controlled manner upon the substrate.
The foregoing and other objects, aspects, features, and advantages of the invention will become more apparent from the following description and from the claims.BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
In the drawings, like reference characters generally refer to the same parts throughout the different views. The drawings are not necessarily to scale, emphasis being placed upon illustrating the principles of the invention.
FIG.4 is a partial cross-section of a light modifying device with arranged linear elements of approximately equal lengths joined at a substrate and a terminal attached to the substrate.
Referring now to
The substrate itself should be thin. The thinnest-substrates may be in a range of 200 nanometers or less and may be produced by tapering the edge of a thin section of substrate material down to a near molecular edge by acid etching, drawing; or other ablative process. Alternatively, thin sections may be produced in thicker areas by ablative methods such as spark erosion or laser ablation, the advantage being that a stronger surrounding support structure may be formed around a very thin active area of the substrate.
It is important to point out that oxides of metals such-as iron are commonly known to have semiconducting properties and therefore may form part of a semiconducting junction. The small size of these particular nanoparticles makes them suitable for junctions that are electrically short enough to operate effectively at very high frequencies, including light frequencies since they are small relative to light wavelengths. A typical red light wavelength may be around 600 nanometers, and an iron nanoparticle may be less than 100 nanometers and typically may be in the range of 10 to 30 nanometers average diameter.
Still referring to
The thickness of the substrate and the thickness of the conductor may result in a longer charge transport pathway that tends to shorten the overall length of the dipole antenna somewhat. This shortening effect is well known in the radio art as it relates to thick antenna elements, but is less appreciated as it relates to the intersection of antenna elements since the delay times associated with radio frequency connections and intervening junctions are usually small with respect to the wavelength involved. In lightwave regimes these delays are more significant. To reduce internal charge transport or propagation of charge delay in the invention, a paired junction 23 may be constructed by growing two opposing nanotubes from one iron particle with the advantage of better electrical length control and less dependence upon substrate thickness to define the length of the structure.
It should be pointed out that the exact role and semiconductive properties of reduced metals within a substrate and their operation when connected to at least one end of a carbon nanotube has not been studied in sufficient detail, and it is possible that any discontinuity represented by any interruption of the nanotube itself, including termination, distortion etc., may be found to have inherent nonlinear properties which could additionally benefit the efficiency of the present invention. Due to the small size of these junctions and the high frequencies involved, tunneling effects, in addition to band gap effects, may be produced at or near the junctions or physical discontinuities of the structures as generally described.
Referring now to
Referring now to
Returning once again to
What has been described is a practical harmonic generating device that can operate over a wide range of light wavelengths utilizing an optical antenna array system that is optimized for lightwave operation. The use of an array of elements that are produced at dimensions and oriented in a repeatable manner create optimal conditions for efficient collection, conversion and radiation of electromagnetic lightwave energy. This high efficiency is due to the ordered arrangement of conductive elements optimally dimensioned for electromagnetic radiation as previously practiced in the radio and antenna art which may now be practically applied to optical wavelengths. Further, attenuation effects are minimized through the use of optical elements which may operate in free space being attached at only one end, rather than in bulk, disordered form or in a solution. The invention allows the fabrication and practical use of linear conductors as antennas with lengths that correspond to light wavelengths and therefore allows the application of radiowave antenna, transmission and radiation practices, including harmonic generation and mixing, detection and frequency multiplication, to the lightwave regime.
Variations, modifications, and other implementations of what is described herein will occur to those of ordinary skill in the art without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as claimed. Accordingly, the invention is to be defined not by the preceding illustrative description but instead by the spirit and scope of the following claims.
19. A method of controlling the manufacture of carbon nanotubes on a substrate, comprising:
- providing a substrate with a plurality of growth locations thereon;
- heating said substrate in a chamber;
- introducing a carbon bearing gas to said chamber to create carbon nanotubes on said growth locations on said substrate;
- applying an external controlling field to said chamber during said heating of said substrate; and
- controlling growth of said carbon nanotubes on said substrate.
20. The method of controlling the manufacture of carbon nanotubes on a substrate as recited in claim 19, wherein said external controlling field comprises a static electric field.
21. The method of controlling the manufacture of carbon nanotubes on a substrate as recited in claim 19, wherein said external controlling field comprises a magnetic field.
22. The method of controlling the manufacture of carbon nanotubes on a substrate as recited in claim 19, wherein said external controlling field comprises an electromagnetic field.
23. The method of controlling the manufacture of carbon nanotubes on a substrate as recited in claim 19, comprising:
- influencing a separation of nanotubes by adjacent repulsion.
24. A method of controlling growth of a nanotube on a substrate comprising:
- growing a plurality of nanotubes on a substrate;
- applying an external field to said nanotubes during said growth of said nanotubes;
- influencing the direction of said growing of said nanotubes by orientation of said external field relative to said nanotubes.
25. The method of controlling growth of a nanotube on a substrate as recited in claim 24, wherein said external field is a static electric field.
26. The method of controlling growth of a nanotube on a substrate as recited in claim 24, wherein said external field is an electromagnetic field.
Filed: Aug 24, 2006
Publication Date: Jan 18, 2007
Inventor: Robert Crowley (Sudbury, MA)
Application Number: 11/509,833
International Classification: H01L 21/20 (20060101);