Thursday, September 03, 2009

US Patent 7582892 - Optically controlled CNT electrical switch

This patent from STMicroelectronics teaches how the electrical conductivity of carbon nanotubes can be altered by controlling the polarization of electromagnetic energy incident of the nanotube. Such effects could be useful to optoelectronics switching for high speed communication devices. Claim 1 reads:

1. An optical-control method of an electrical-switch device comprising a first current-conduction terminal and a second current-conduction terminal, and a carbon nanotube connected between said first and second current-conduction terminals, said method comprising the steps of:

impinging upon said carbon nanotube with electromagnetic radiation; and

varying the polarization of the electromagnetic radiation incident upon said carbon nanotube in order to vary the electrical conductivity of the carbon nanotube itself.