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Andrew Zimmerman Jones

Light Twisted Crystals

By April 11, 2007

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The About Physics blog has covered a number of reports of growing nanotechnology innovations, the ever-increasing trend of technological miniaturization, as well as growth toward optical systems as sophisticated and revolutionary as electrical systems became over the twentieth century.

A new article indicates that there are a certain class of crystals that expand or twist in response to being struck with the proper frequency of ultraviolet light. In conjunction with other recent innovations, this could allow for the creation of tiny light-triggered switches, valves, and pumps. Such systems could operate at speeds much faster than electronic systems and would create fewer problems with overheating, a real problem in extremely complex electrical devices.

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