With today's emphasis on biological terrorism, engineers from Purdue University hope that their nanoantennas may be used to produce sensors millions of times more sensitive than current technology. Vladimir Shalaev, a Purdue School of Electrical and Computer Engineering professor, and associates demonstrated through mathematical simulations that nanometer-scale antennas made of "left-handed" metal wires and spheres 10-nm in size might be capable of detecting a single molecule of a chemical or biological agent. Left-handed materials are able to reverse the normal behavior of visible light and other forms of electromagnetic radiation. "They have this unique ability because electrons are free to move about in these nanostructured metals," says Shalaev. "All of the work in this area so far has been done in the microwave spectral range. We believe that this is the first project for these materials in the visible range." Shalaev says these types of materials may accomplish better performance than all existing materials, in terms of making images and manipulating light. As a result, they could have a number of applications such as super lenses for medical diagnostics, or faster and more compact circuits and computers that use photons instead of electrons. For more information, contact Vladimir Shalaev by phone: 765-494-9855, or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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