Scientists advance photonic technology

Mar 23, 2006

Scientists at Denmark's Aalborg University have created a family of devices for guiding and processing light in chip-based information technology.

Sergey Bozhevolnyi and colleagues say their research will help overcome a main obstacle -- the difficulty of manipulating light at very small scales -- to making "photonic" technology comparable to microelectronics.

The scientists say the key problem for "microphotonics" is that light can only be transmitted through channels and holes wider than its wavelength. Today's fiber-optic telecommunications use wavelengths of about 1.5 micrometers -- much bigger than the channels in present-day silicon chips.

But Bozhevolnyi's team suggests light waves can be used to excite collective, wavelike motions of electrons known as plasmons on the surface of metals. Plasmons aren't restricted by size limit.

The researchers previously demonstrated some plasmons can move -- in the form of linked light and electron waves -- along the bottom of V-shaped grooves in metal, grooves that are much narrower than the wavelength of the light.

The scientists now have shown such channels can be shaped to act as photonic devices for splitting and modifying light signals.

The research appears in this week's issue of the journal Nature.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Engineering discovery brings invisibility closer to reality

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Engineers efficiently 'mix' light at the nanoscale

Nov 13, 2014

The race to make computer components smaller and faster and use less power is pushing the limits of the properties of electrons in a material. Photonic systems could eventually replace electronic ones, but ...

Recommended for you

Infrared imaging technique operates at high temperatures

Jan 23, 2015

From aerial surveillance to cancer detection, mid-wavelength infrared (MWIR) radiation has a wide range of applications. And as the uses for high-sensitivity, high-resolution imaging continue to expand, MWIR sources are becoming ...

Football physics and the science of Deflategate

Jan 23, 2015

News reports say that 11 of the 12 game balls used by the New England Patriots in their AFC championship game against the Indianapolis Colts were deflated, showing about 2 pounds per square inch (psi) less ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.