New way to split and sum photons with silicon

Silicon nanocrystals are formed by a silane gas in a plasma process. Credit: Lorenzo Mangolini/UC Riverside

A team of researchers at the University of Texas and the University of California have found a way to produce a long-hypothesized phenomenon— the transfer of energy between silicon and organic, carbon-based molecules — in a breakthrough that has implications for information storage in quantum computing, solar energy conversion, and medical imaging.

The new discovery provides scientists with a way to boost silicon’s efficiency by pairing it with a carbon-based material that converts high-energy blue photons into pairs of red photons that can be more efficiently used by silicon. This hybrid material called anthracene can also be tweaked to operate in reverse, taking in red light and converting it into blue light, which has implications for medical treatments and quantum computing storage.

The research is described in a paper out today in the journal Nature Chemistry. (SciTechDaily)

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