Nav: Home

Army research lights the way for new materials

October 09, 2018

ADELPHI, Md.-- What happens when gold and silver just don't cut it anymore? You turn to metallic alloys, which are what Army researchers are using to develop new designer materials with a broad range of capabilities for our Soldiers.

This is exactly what scientists Dr. David Baker and Dr. Joshua McClure from the U.S. Army Research Laboratory are doing to lighten the load and enhance the power of Soldier devices used on the battlefield.

Their research, conducted in collaboration with Prof. Marina Leite and Dr. Chen Gong at the University of Maryland and Prof. Alexandre Rocha at the Universidade Estadual Paulista in Brazil, was recently featured on the cover of the Sept. 4 issue of Advanced Optical Materials.

The research paper, "Band Structure Engineering by Alloying for Photonics," focuses on control of the optical and plasmonic properties of gold and silver alloys by changing alloy chemical composition.

"We demonstrated and characterized gold/silver alloys with tuned optical properties, known as surface plasmon polaritons, which can be used in a wide array of photonic applications," Baker said. "The fundamental effort combined experiment and theory to explain the origin of the alloys' optical behavior. The work highlights that the electronic structure of the metallic surface may be engineered upon changing the alloy's chemical composition, paving the way for integration into many different applications where individual metals otherwise fail to have the right characteristics."

The research focused on combining experimental and theoretical efforts to elucidate the alloyed material's electronic structure with direct implications for the optical behavior.

According to the researchers, the insights gained enable one to tune the optical dispersion and light-harvesting capability of these materials, which can outperform systems made of individual elements like gold.

"The insights of the paper are useful to Soldiers because they can be applied to a variety of applications including, but not limited to: photocatalytic reactions, sensing/detection and nanoscale laser applications," McClure said. "When tuned properly, the integrated alloyed materials can lead to reductions in the weight of energy harvesting devices, lower power requirements for electronics and even more powerful optical sensors."

The researchers are currently looking at other metallic alloys and anticipate that their combined experimental and computational approach may be extended to other materials, including nonmetallic systems.

"The field of plasmonics enables potentially paradigm shifting characteristics with applications to the warfighter; this includes everything from computation, to energy harvesting, to communication, and even directed energy," Baker said. "However, researchers in these fields are limited to a handful of elements on the periodic table; gold and silver are two of the most commonly studied. This lack of options limits the available properties for technology development. By knowing the fundamental optical and electronic properties of alloys, we can develop new designer materials with a broader range of capabilities."

For the researchers, having their work selected to be on the cover of the journal is very exciting personally and professionally, and brings to light what they are developing for the success of the future Soldier.

They noted that this acknowledgement highlights that the broader scientific community recognizes the value of their contributions and research direction, and it is clear that their methods and alloyed materials are becoming increasingly more important and relevant for a variety of photonic applications.
-end-
The U.S. Army Research Laboratory is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to ensure decisive overmatch for unified land operations to empower the Army, the joint warfighter and our nation. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.

U.S. Army Research Laboratory

Related Gold Articles:

Smooth propagation of spin waves using gold
Assistant Professor Taichi Goto at Toyohashi University of Technology elucidated the noise generation mechanism of the spin wave (SW), the wave of a magnetic moment transmitted through magnetic oxide, and established a way to suppress it.
When gold turns invisible
A gold compound shifts from a visible fluorescence to emitting infrared when ground -- a big shift with potential applications in bioimaging and security inks.
The formation of gold deposits in South Africa
The Witwatersrand basin in South Africa hosts the largest known gold repository on Earth -- but how was it formed?
Graphene and gold make a better brain probe
A team from Korea created more flexible neural electrodes that minimize tissue damage and still transmit clear brain signals.
Painting fingernails with silver and gold
Since ancient times, people have used lustrous silver, platinum and gold to make jewelry and other adornments.
Gold standards for nanoparticles
KAUST researchers reveal how small organic 'citrate' ions can stabilize gold nanoparticles, assisting research on the structures' potential.
Mobile gold fingers
Drugs containing gold have been used for centuries to treat conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.
Lead dressed like gold
Princeton researchers have taken a different approach to alchemists' ancient goal to transmute elements by making one material behave that another.
Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms
The precise control of electron transport in microelectronics makes complex logic circuits possible that are in daily use in smartphones and laptops.
Nanostructures made of pure gold
Researchers from TU Wien have discovered a novel way to fabricate pure gold nanostructures using an additive direct-write lithography technique.

Related Gold Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Climate Crisis
There's no greater threat to humanity than climate change. What can we do to stop the worst consequences? This hour, TED speakers explore how we can save our planet and whether we can do it in time. Guests include climate activist Greta Thunberg, chemical engineer Jennifer Wilcox, research scientist Sean Davis, food innovator Bruce Friedrich, and psychologist Per Espen Stoknes.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#527 Honey I CRISPR'd the Kids
This week we're coming to you from Awesome Con in Washington, D.C. There, host Bethany Brookshire led a panel of three amazing guests to talk about the promise and perils of CRISPR, and what happens now that CRISPR babies have (maybe?) been born. Featuring science writer Tina Saey, molecular biologist Anne Simon, and bioethicist Alan Regenberg. A Nobel Prize winner argues banning CRISPR babies won’t work Geneticists push for a 5-year global ban on gene-edited babies A CRISPR spin-off causes unintended typos in DNA News of the first gene-edited babies ignited a firestorm The researcher who created CRISPR twins defends...