Nanotechnology attempts to control atoms and molecules on the scale of less than 100 nanometers. A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter. So, imagine trying to build a computer chip or microscopic device in this small space!
Stephen Chou has dominated the field of nanotechnology in recent years. He is a Packard Fellow, an inductee of the New Jersey Technology Hall of Fame and has published almost 300 scientific papers. He currently holds 15 patents and has applied for over 40 more. Furthermore, Chou is the founder of Nanonex Corporation and NanoOpto Corporation.
In 2012, Stephen Chou used nanotechnology to show researchers and manufacturers how to almost double the efficiency of solar cells. Now, he has turned his attention to the construction of LEDs (light-emitting diodes). Consequently, consumer products may soon boast that their LED displays are 57 percent more energy efficient, 57 percent brighter and deliver 400 percent more clarity. This technology will be especially important for future smartphones. And while Apple fans are (rightfully so) raving over the new iPhone 6, Chou says the new technology will produce screens that are easier to see, much more defined and will last up to 10 times longer.
Nanotechnology for LEDs
Current nanotechnology allows for working at the level of about 90 nanometers; however, Chou’s technique will reduce that playing field down to 10 nanometers. Chou’s team can actually bend light at a sub-wavelength dimension, which enables them to ensure that more of the light emitted reaches the surface.
The physical structure incorporated is known as PlaCSH (plasmonic cavity with subwavelength hole array). With PlaCSH, Chou’s team achieved a light extraction level of 60 percent, reports ScienceDaily, which is an incredible leap for the 3 percent that we see in cell phones currently. Chou states, “New nanotechnology can change the rules of the ways we manipulate light. We can use this to make devices with unprecedented performance.” That means you will see more clearly, not just on your smartphone screen, but with any device—whether automotive, instrument-fixed or appliance-based that incorporates LED lighting.
Other Uses of Nanotechnology
Chou’s work also has been applied to the world of medicine. One of the areas where nanotechnology may apply is immunoassay, which is a standard test used in the early detection of medical conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and cancer. Thanks to nanotechnology, immunoassay could become 3 million times more sensitive.
Immunoassay uses biomarkers, or the chemicals linked with diseases, and when those markers are present, then the test produces a fluorescent glow, explains Princeton’s School of Engineering and Applied Science. The brighter the light, the more biomarkers that are present. Nanotechnology will help make this process even more sensitive because it can detect fainter traces of light. Chou and other researchers at Princeton created gold and glass structures that were small enough to be seen with an electron microscope and increased the flueorescence signal of the immunoassays. Overall, this means your chances of early detection of a serious disease would increase exponentially.