Hanscom Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society, Meeting

Tuesday, 8 November 2005

MIT Lincoln Laboratory Auditorium

Refreshments: 3:30 PM, Talk 4 - 5 PM

Joint Meeting with the IEEE Life Members


WRAPPING LIGHT AROUND A HAIR: Silica Nanowires for Optical Components

Eric Mazur

Professor of Physics at Harvard University,

Gordon McKay Professor of Applied Physics


Silica glass fibers are widely used in optical communication, sensors and other applications. These fibers have roughly the same diameters as human hair. Device applications benefit from minimizing the width of these fibers, but fabricating low-loss optical waveguides with subwavelength diameters is challenging because of the strict requirements on surface roughness and diameter uniformity.

We have developed a process for fabricating silica nanowires with a diameter of only one thousandth the diameter of a hair. Although significantly narrower than the wavelength of light, these nanowires can act as "rails" for light. About half the optical energy is outside the wire, is sensitive to its environment, a property useful for chemical and biological sensors. The wires allow single-mode operation and have very low optical losses within the visible to near-infrared spectral range. Mechanical tests show that the wires have tensile strength in excess of 5 GPa -- stronger than spider silk. The wires are also resilient and flexible, easily bending into microscopic loops. When combined with other devices such as nanoscale lasers, the wires may provide opportunities for a variety of applications ranging from optical communications to microsurgery.



Eric Mazur, internationally recognized scientist and researcher, leads a vigorous research program in optical physics and supervises one of the largest research groups in the Physics Department at Harvard University. Dr. Mazur has made important contributions to spectroscopy, light scattering, and studies of electronic and structural events in solids that occur on the femtosecond time scale. In 1988 he was awarded a Presidential Young Investigator Award. In 2001 Mazur was awarded one of the first NSF Director's Distinguished Teaching Scholar award, the NSF's highest honor. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and has been named APS Centennial Lecturer during the Society's centennial year.

Dr. Mazur has served on numerous committees and councils, including advisory and visiting committees for the National Science Foundation, has chaired and organized national and international scientific conferences, and presented for the Presidential Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology. He serves as consultant to industry in the electronics and telecommunications industry. Dr. Mazur is author or co-author of 153 scientific publications.http://mazur.deas.harvard.edu/emdetails.php

 Registration is in the main lobby.  Foreign national visitors to Lincoln Lab require visit The meeting will be held at the Lincoln Lab Auditorium at 4:00 PM. Refreshments will be served at 3:30 PM. Registration is in the main lobby. requests.  You may also pre-register by e-mail to Roslyn Wesley, rwesley@ll.mit.edu; please indicate your citizenship.  You will not receive a confirmation of your pre-registration, however, your badge will be ready for you when you register. Please use the Wood Street Gate.  For directions go to http://www.ll.mit.edu For other information, contact Ed Altshuler, Chairman, at (781)377-4662, or edward.altshuler@hanscom.af.mil