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01. Nanolamps Light the Way

Abruña, Craighead, and Malliaras

(l. to r.) Héctor Abruña, Harold Craighead, George Malliaras

Héctor Abruña, Chemistry and Chemical Biology, George G. Malliaras, Materials Science and Engineering, Harold G. Craighead, Applied and Engineering Physics, and research colleagues created one of the smallest organic light-emitting devices to date. These nanofibers, at 200 nanometers wide, are smaller than the wavelength of light they emit. Using the technique of electrospinning, the researchers made the nanofibers from a mixture of the metal complex ruthenium tris-bipyridine and the polymer polyethylene oxide. They found that the fibers give off an orange light, like a tiny light bulb, when excited by low-voltage, micropatterned electrodes. This type of localized light source could be beneficial in applications ranging from sensing to microscopy to flat-panel displays, as electronics become increasingly smaller. The researchers showed that organic light-emitting nanodevices can be made with simple fabrication methods. How they will endure subsequent processing and use, however, is still under investigation.

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