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July 20, 2006

Rice scientists make nanoeggs that focus 5 times more wavelengths than nanoshells

Like nanoshells, nanoeggs are about 20 times smaller than a red blood cell, and they can be tuned to focus light on small regions of space. But each nanoegg interacts with more light – about five times the number of wavelengths – than their nanoshell cousins, and their asymmetric structure also allows them to focus more energy on a particular spot.

A cousin of the versatile nanoshell, nanoeggs are asymmetric specks of matter whose striking optical properties can be harnessed for molecular imaging, medical diagnostics, chemical sensing and more. This is part of a rapidly growing family of optical nanoparticles from increased understanding of the interaction between light and matter in this critical size regime.

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