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Ultra-Fast Water-Based Switch Uses a Powerful Laser

A brand-new concept has been revealed by scientists. This idea switches with exceptional speed.

Ultra-Fast Water-Based Switch Uses a Powerful Laser
The water is fanned out through a specially developed nozzle. Then the laser is passed through it. Image Credit: Adrian Buchmann.

At the Ruhr University Bochum, Germany, scientists have come up with an ultra-fast water-based switch. A brief yet powerful laser pulse transmits the water into a conductive state within less than a trillionth of a second (10-12 seconds). This is the time in which it acts similar to a metal.

So far, this makes it quicker than a semiconductor's quickest known switching speed. Adrian Buchmann, Dr. Claudius Hoberg, and Dr. Fabio Novelli from the Ruhr Explores Solvation Cluster of Excellence RESOLV reported their outcomes in the APL Photonics journal on December 6th, 2022.

Laser Makes Water Behave Like a High-Speed Switch

Based on circuits, all the operations of smartphones and computers are done. The speed at which a component has the potential to switch between the states zero and one eventually identifies how quickly a computer can run. Modern computers make use of semiconductors that makes the possibility of electrical switching.

They are inherently limited in their speed.

Dr. Claudius Hoberg, Physical Chemistry II, Faculty of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Ruhr-University Bochum

Hoberg, along with his collaborators, has revealed a possible new method for water-based circuits. The water in which the scientists had dissolved iodide ions–salt water is outspread by a custom-made nozzle so that it jets as a flattened jet having a thickness of just a few micrometers.

Think of it like squeezing a gardening hose to make the jet of water broad and flat, only on a much smaller scale.

Dr. Claudius Hoberg, Physical Chemistry II, Faculty of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Ruhr-University Bochum

Furthermore, a short yet strong laser pulse is directed via this water jet. The laser helps to free electrons from the salt dissolved in the water so that the water turns out to be abruptly conductive at terahertz frequencies. This displays properties that are similar to those of a metal. The brief duration of the laser pulse is around 10 to 14 seconds, and it turns the water into an ultra-fast switch.

A speed of 10-12 seconds was observed in the terahertz range.

Dr Claudius Hoberg, Physical Chemistry II, Faculty of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Ruhr-University Bochum

The existence of a second laser acts to probe the state of water.

The study was financially supported by the German Research Foundation within the Cluster of Excellence RESOLV (EXC 2033 - 390677874) and project number 509442914 and by the European Research Council within the ERC Advanced Grant 695437 (THz Calorimetry).

Journal Reference:

Buchmann, A., et al. (2022) An ultra-fast liquid switch for terahertz radiation. APL Photonics. doi.org/10.1063/5.0130236.

Source: https://www.ruhr-uni-bochum.de/de

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