Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Nano-Antennas for Solar Power and Sensors

Arnold McKinley will speak on how nano-scale antennas can be used for collecting solar energy and other uses for such technology, at the Australian National University in Canberra, 2pm 3 June 2014. Arnold has a background in designing practical devices for the solar power industry and the ability to explain such technical topics clearly. Apart from power, his research could have application in the development of sensors for the military and in remote environmental monitoring.

The Physics and Mathematical Theory of Nano-scaled Ring Resonators and Loop Antennas for Meta-material, Solar, and General Nano-photonic Applications.

Arnold F. McKinley (Centre for Sustainable Energy Systems)


DATE: 2014-06-03
TIME: 14:00:00 - 15:00:00
LOCATION: Engineering Lecture Theatre
CONTACT: niraj.lal@anu.edu.au

Closed circular rings were never very good antennas for radio frequency communications. But in the early part of this century, someone shrunk one down to millimetre size, put in a single gap, spread out a number of them in a 3-D array and thereby made the first invisibility cloak. Since then closed rings and split-rings (ones with gaps) have been found useful for high definition imaging, radiation beam control, tiny Fresnel lenses, single photon emitters, medical sensors and a host of other applications. I wanted to use them to enhance light capture in solar cells. I was surprised to learn that most of the applications noted, were applied in the microwave region and that no one had developed a general physics or mathematical theory of rings for the teraHertz, infrared and optical regions. This thesis rectifies that by applying low frequency antenna theory to nano-scaled loops; that is, to rings on the order of 300 - 1000 nm in circumference. I am happy to say that we now have an analytical theory that will provide us with the resonances, current distributions and radiation patterns of any sized circular loop, of any useful thickness, with any useful number of gaps, constructed of any material for which we have measured index of refraction data.
This talk will present the physics and the theory of rings in the radio frequency region and show how the theory was extended to the optical region. I will show how the theory was then extended further to incorporate multiple gaps around the periphery. Matlab code was written to perform many different kinds of calculations and I will end by showing calculations of resonances and current distributions for rings made of metal and for rings made of dielectric materials, such as Silicon and Germanium.
In questions and answers we can talk about how these results might be used.

Arni holds three Master's degrees, two of them in Engineering from Stanford University. In the 1970's, he worked at Stanford's Institute for Energy Studies and at the Center for the Study of Social Policy at Stanford Research Institute (now called SRI, International). In the 1980's, he taught Physics and Electrical Engineering for four years at San Diego State University and worked at Apple Computer for two years before starting a 25 year computer programming career. His main contracts were with scientific laboratories and academic institutions. His last work before coming to the ANU was with a solar startup company working on micro-inverters for PV modules.

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