Posted: March 5, 2010

Scientists in Singapore and Japan team up to push frontiers in materials design and nano-optical techniques

(Nanowerk News) Three teams of researchers, each jointly led by a Singaporean and a Japanese, have been awarded a total of $2m in research grants by Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) and the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) under the Strategic International Cooperative Programme (SICP). These projects are in the fields of “Physical Materials and Devices” and “Photonics and Nano-Optics” – research areas previously identified as strategic areas of co-operation.
The three collaborative research projects, which have been selected from 11 high quality applications after a thorough process of independent external reviews conducted by A*STAR and JST, are as follows:
1024x1024 Optical Crossconnect for terabit/s routers and supercomputers. This project is jointly led by Dr Yeo Yong-Kee from A*STAR’s Institute for Infocomm Research (I2R) and Dr Tetsuya Kawanishi from the New Generation Network Research Center, National Institute of Information and Communications Technology, Japan.
With the rapid expansion of the Internet, the demand for high-capacity electronic network routers is expected to grow exponentially. However, higher capacity corresponds with with higher heat dissipation and power consumption. A high-end terabit/s router today consumes up to 10kW of power, and this is expected to grow to 50kW within the decade if routers do not evolve.
By replacing electronic switches in these routers with an optical version, the team aims to revolutionalise the routers’ architectural design. Utilizing advanced switching components, such as those based on quantum-dot optical devices, they aim to develop a router switch with at least forty times the capacity of what is currently available while consuming the same amount of power or less.
Investigation on a polarimetric terahertz (THz) frequency domain spectroscopy system. This is led jointly by Dr Gong Yandong from A*STAR’s Institute for Infocomm research (I2R) and Dr Hiroaki Minamide from Advanced Science Institute (Sendai), RIKEN.
The electromagnetic wave in the THz band (100GHz –10THz) has become increasingly important in applied and basic research, with its ability to image and measure samples which are opaque in the visible and near-infrared regions of the spectrum.
However, current THz frequency-domain spectroscopy (THz-FDS) techniques are suitable only for isotropic samples. Yet, most test materials are birefringent and can result in polarization-dependent loss (PDL). Therefore, current THz-FDS systems may not explain fully the test results.
By tackling these polarization topics, the team aims to improve the accuracy of imaging and measurements in such polarimetric THz-FDS systems by incorporating various polarization information.
Ultrafast transient absorption techniques to study charge generation dynamics for holistic OPV materials and devices characterization from charge generation to collection. This is led by Dr Gorelik Sergey from A*STAR’s Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE) and Dr Ryuzi Katoh from the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST).
Organic photovoltaic (OPV) devices are the key to the harvesting of solar energy, as they can be manufactured via solution-based methods, which drive down costs greatly. Photocurrent generation in OPV devices involves three basic stages: exciton formation; charge separation; and charge transport and collection. To develop new OPV materials for more efficient devices, it is essential to understand the physics involved in each stage.
The team aims to develop an overall characterisation of new OPV materials, currently being designed in-house in IMRE. By combining infrastructure and expertise from both IMRE and AIST to independently assess each of the processes, and correlating the findings with overall device performance, this project will reveal answers to the design of more efficient OPV systems.
Said Professor Low Teck Seng, Deputy Managing Director (Research), A*STAR and Executive Director, Science and Engineering Research Council, A*STAR, “The projects are of an exceptional standard. Each project team has demonstrated a high ability to innovate and challenge paradigms, as well as a high level of scientific pursuit. I am confident that collaborations such as these will not only push the frontiers of science, but will also go a long way in building closer ties between researchers from the two countries and in facilitating greater interactions which will spawn new and fascinating ideas and innovations to contribute to society and the world.”
SICP aims to promote research collaborations and exchanges between Singaporean and Japanese researchers by providing funding for joint research projects and workshops in the two countries. A*STAR and JST have mutually agreed to support research within the field of “Functional Applications in Physical Sciences”, which encompasses strategic research areas such as Nanotechnology, Materials including applications for photonics and terahertz, and Chemistry including nanobiotechnology and bioelectronics.
SICP, which was started in 2003, has been promoted by JST to foster active research exchange through supporting researchers from Japan and 22 countries and areas in Europe, America, Pacific, Asia, Middle East and Africa under this framework.
Source: A*STAR