Cheap, Self-Assembling Optics

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have created nanoscale particles that can self-assemble into various optical devices. By controlling how densely the tiny silver particles assemble themselves, the researchers can make several different kinds of devices, including photonic crystals. The self-assembling materials could be made cheaply and on a large scale. As a result, the silver nanoparticles could be used to make metamaterials, color-changing paints, components for optical computers, and ultrasensitive chemical sensors, among many other potential applications

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