Silicon-in-Silica Spheres via Temperature-Gradient Controlled Amplification of In-Fiber Capillary Instabilities

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Inventors
Professor John Joannopoulos
Department of Physics, MIT
External Link (ab-initio.mit.edu)
Professor Yoel Fink
Department of Electrical Engineering, MIT
External Link (mit-pbg.mit.edu)
Professor Steven Johnson
Department of Mathematics, MIT
External Link (math.mit.edu)
Professor Ayman Abouraddy
The College of Optics and Photonics, University of Central Florida
Professor Silvija Gradecak
Department of Material Science and Engineering, MIT
External Link (web.mit.edu)
Xiaoting Jia
Research Laboratory of Electronics, MIT
Alexander Stolyarov
Lincoln Laboratory, MIT
John Smith
Department of Electrical Engineering, MIT
Guillaume Lestoquoy
Research Laboratory of Electronics, MIT
Lei Wei
Research Laboratory of Electronics, MIT
Xiangdong Liang
Department of Mathematics, MIT
Alexander Gumennik
Research Laboratory of Electronics, MIT
Paul Rekemeyer
Department of Material Science and Engineering, MIT
External Link (web.mit.edu)
Benjamin Grena
Department of Electrical Engineering, MIT
Managed By
Jim Freedman
MIT Technology Licensing Officer - Chemicals, Instruments, Consumer Products
Patent Protection

Silicon-In-Silica Spheres Via Temperature-Gradient Controlled Amplification Of In-Fiber Capillary Instabilities

US Patent Pending US 2015-0044463
Publications
Silicon-in-Silica Spheres via Axial Thermal Gradient In-Fibre Capillary Instabilities
Nature Communications, 4 (2216): 1-8, Jul. 31, 2013

Applications

  • Mechanics
  • Biotechnology
  • Photonics
  • Green energy

Problem Addressed

Silicon is an important and pervasive material in the field of electronics. However, there are no established methods for processing silicon into monodisperse spheres. The development of a versatile approach for controlled and scalable production of uniform silicon spheres would be an important breakthrough in the fields of mechanics, biotechnology, photonics and green energy. This invention provides a method.

Technology

The technology uses a silicon-in-silica fiber and a moving thermal gradient to induce capillary breakup in sub-micron fibers, resulting in the formation of monodisperse spheres. The processes allows for a continuous array of sphere of diameters less than 500 nanometers to be fabricated internal to the fiber. One application is to use this technology on P and N type silicon cores. The process creates spheres which can be fused into bi-spherical silicon “PN molecules” which have been experimentally verified to have formed PN junctions.

Advantages

  • Versatile
  • Controllable
  • Scalable in terms of both size and number