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Research Highlights
So-called eye diagrams serve to check the quality of electro-optical modulators. (Picture: C. Haffner/ETH)NATURE: Compact Optical Data Transmission

July 28, 2015

Compact optical transmission possibilities are of great interest in faster and more energy-efficient data exchange between electronic chips. One component serving this application is the Mach-Zehnder modulator (MZM) which is able to convert electronic signals into optical signals. Scientists of the KIT and the ETH in Zurich developed a plasmonic MZM of only 12.5 micrometers length which converts digital electrical signals into optical signals at a rate of up to 108 gigabit per second, and presented this device in the “Nature Photonics” scientific journal. (DOI 10.1038/nphoton.2015.127).

Press Release 085/2015
In a diffusive light-scattering medium, light moves on random paths (see magnifying glass). A normal object (left) casts a shadow, an object with an invisibility cloak (right) does not. (Image: R. Schittny / KIT)KIT Researchers Build Optical Invisibility Cloak for a Diffusive Medium

June 6, 2014

Real invisibility cloaks are rather complex and work in certain situations only. The laws of physics prevent an optical invisibility cloak from making objects in air invisible for any directions, colors, and polarizations. If the medium is changed, however, it becomes much easier to hide objects. KIT physicists have now succeeded in manufacturing with relatively simple means and testing an ideal invisibility cloak for diffusive light-scattering media, such as fog or milk. Their results are published in the renowned Science journal. (DOI: 10.1126/science.1254524)

Press Release 076/2014
Microhairs similar to the gecko’s setae before and after cleaning through lateral friction contact with a smooth surface. (Photograph with scanning electron microscope: Michael Röhrig, KIT)Gecko-inspired Adhesion: Self-cleaning and Reliable

February 19, 2014

Geckos outclass adhesive tapes in one respect: Even after repeated contact with dirt and dust do their feet perfectly adhere to smooth surfaces. Researchers of the KIT and the Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, have now developed the first adhesive tape that does not only adhere to a surface as reliably as the toes of a gecko, but also possesses similar self-cleaning properties. Using such a tape, food packagings or bandages might be opened and closed several times. The results are published in the “Interface“ journal of the British Royal Society. DOI: rsif.2013.1205

Press Release 024/2014
Auf eine Lichtwelle (o .li.) prägt der Wandler (gelb) aufgrund der angelegten Spannung digitale Bits auf (u. re.). So werden elektrische zu optischen Signalen. (Grafik: A. Melikyan/KIT) Nature: Ultra-small and Ultra–fast Electro-optic Modulator

February 17, 2014

Thanks to optical signals, mails and data can be transmitted rapidly around the globe. But also exchange of digital information between electronic chips may be accelerated and energy efficiency might be increased by using optical signals. However, this would require simple methods to switch from electrical to optical signals. In the Nature Photonics magazine, researchers now present a device of 29 µm in length, which converts signals at a rate of about 40 gigabits per second. It is the most compact high-speed phase modulator in the world. DOI: 10.1038/NPHOTON.2014.9

Press Release 023/2014
The scanning tunneling microscope makes single holmium atoms on a platinum surface visible. (Photo: KIT/T. Miyamachi)Nature: Single-atom Bit Forms Smallest Memory in the World

November 13, 2013

Control of the Magnetic Moment of Single Atoms Is the Key to Compact Data Memories and Quantum Computers

Lipid Membranes on GrapheneLipid Membranes on Graphene

October 2013

The application of graphene in sensor devices depends on the ability to appropriately functionalize the pristine graphene. Here we show the direct writing of tailored phospholipid membranes on graphene using dip-pen nanolithography. Phospholipids exhibit higher mobility on graphene compared with the commonly used silicon dioxide substrate, leading to well-spread uniform membranes. Dip-pen nanolithography allows for multiplexed assembly of phospholipid membranes of different functionalities in close proximity to each other.

Nature: Elementary Physics in a Single MoleculeNature: Elementary Physics in a Single Molecule

July 17, 2013

A team of physicists has succeeded in performing an extraordinary experiment: They demonstrated how magnetism that generally manifests itself by a force between two magnetized objects acts within a single molecule. This discovery is of high significance to fundamental research and provides scientists with a new tool to better understand magnetism as an elementary phenomenon of physics. The researchers published their results in the latest issue of Nature Nanotechnology (doi: 10.1038/nnano.2013.133).

Press Release 096/2013
Researchers Construct Invisibility Cloak for Thermal FlowResearchers Construct Invisibility Cloak for Thermal Flow

May 8, 2013

By means of special metamaterials, light and sound can be passed around objects. KIT researchers now succeeded in demonstrating that the same materials can also be used to specifically influence the propagation of heat. A structured plate of copper and silicone conducts heat around a central area without the edge being affected.

Press Release 057/2013
Graphite consists of layered carbon atoms. A metal particle bores into the graphite sample from the edges of these layers.Nanoparticles Digging the World’s Smallest Tunnels

23 January 2013

The world’s smallest tunnels have a width of a few nanometers only. Researchers from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and Rice University, USA, have dug such tunnels into graphite samples. This will allow structuring of the interior of materials through self-organization in the nanometer range and tailoring of nanoporous graphite for applications in medicine and battery technology. Results are now presented in the scientific journal Nature Communications (DOI: 10.1038/ncomms2399).

Press Release 013/2013
The single-photon detector is characterized by five convincing factors: 91% detection efficiency; direct integration on chip; counting rates on a Gigahertz scale; high timing resolution and negligible dark counting rates. Source: KIT/CFN.Quantum Communication: Each Photon Counts

January 21, 2013

Emmy Noether Research Group Leader Wolfram Pernice Achieves Breakthrough at KIT in Building an Efficient Single-photon Detector

Schematic representation of a field effect transistor (FET) made of printed inorganic oxide nanoparticles connected with printable composite solid polymer electrolytes as an insulator of the gate electrode. (Figure: KIT, Christian Gruppe) Quick Transistors from the Printer

September 27, 2012

Scientists of the KIT Institute of Nanotechnology (INT) have achieved major progress in printed electronics: They demonstrated that highly mobile field effect transistors (FET) can be made of printed inorganic oxide nanoparticles. These are combined with printable composite solid polymer electrolytes as an insulator of the gate electrode.

TbPc2 molecule quantum-bit device. Electrons (red) from the electrodes jump onto the molecule reading out the electronic spin (orange) and the nuclear spin (green) (Graphics: C. Grupe, KIT)Nature: Electronic Read-out of Quantum Bits

August 16, 2012

Quantum State of a Single Atomic Nucleus Can Be Controlled and Determined by Simple Electrodes / Basis of Quantum Computers and Nano Spintronics

An optical microcavity consists of two semi-transparent metal mirrors, whose distance determines the color of the light generated by graphene. (Figure: KIT)Play of Colors with Graphene

June 20, 2012

Researchers Succeeded in Coupling a Layer of Carbon Atoms to an Optical Cavity and Making It Emit Light – KIT Scientists Participate in the Project

Pentamode metamaterials almost behave like fluids. Their manufacture opens new possibilities in transformation acoustics. (Source: CFN, KIT)KIT Researchers Succeed in Realizing a New Material Class

May 8, 2012

Metafluids for Transformation Acoustics - A research team lead by Professor Martin Wegener at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) has succeeded in realizing a new material class through the manufacturing of a stable crystalline metafluid, a pentamode metamaterial. Using new nanostructuring methods, these materials can now be realized for the first time with any conceivable mechanical properties.

Metamaterials Teach Light to DanceMetamaterials Teach Light to Dance

August 24, 2009

Recently, metamaterials, by means of which electromagnetic waves, including light, can be manipulated, have fired the researchers’ imagination. These artificial structures possess properties that cannot be found in nature. Perfect lenses without aberrations and even invisibility cloaks à la Harry Potter can be made of metamaterials, at least theoretically. Now, scientists from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) describe, for the first time, three-dimensional metamaterials that could really be applied in spectroscopic measurement instruments.