Related topics: light

Scientists spin photons to send light in one direction

( —Researchers at King's College London have achieved previously unseen levels of control over the travelling direction of electromagnetic waves in waveguides. Their ground-breaking results could have far-reaching ...

'Metasurfaces' to usher in new optical technologies

( —New optical technologies using "metasurfaces" capable of the ultra-efficient control of light are nearing commercialization, with potential applications including advanced solar cells, computers, telecommunications, ...

Silicon nanophotonics: Using light signals to transmit data

(—IBM announced today a major advance in the ability to use light instead of electrical signals to transmit information for future computing. The breakthrough technology – called "silicon nanophotonics" – allows ...

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Nanophotonics or Nano-optics is the study of the behavior of light on the nanometer scale. It is considered as a branch of optical engineering which deals with optics, or the interaction of light with particles or substances, at deeply subwavelength length scales. Technologies in the realm of nano-optics include near-field scanning optical microscopy (NSOM), photoassisted scanning tunnelling microscopy, and surface plasmon optics. Traditional microscopy makes use of diffractive elements to focus light tightly in order to increase resolution. But because of the diffraction limit (also known as the Rayleigh Criterion), propagating light may be focused to a spot with a minimum diameter of roughly half the wavelength of the light. Thus, even with diffraction-limited confocal microscopy, the maximum resolution obtainable is on the order of a couple of hundred nanometers. The scientific and industrial communities are becoming more interested in the characterization of materials and phenomena on the scale of a few nanometers, so alternative techniques must be utilized. Scanning Probe Microscopy (SPM) makes use of a “probe”, (usually either a tiny aperture or super-sharp tip), which either locally excites a sample or transmits local information from a sample to be collected and analyzed. The ability to fabricate devices in nanoscale that has been developed recently provided the catalyst for this area of study.

The study of nanophotonics involves two broad themes 1) studying the novel properties of light at the nanometer scale 2) enabling highly power efficient devices for engineering applications.

The study has the potential to revolutionize the telecommunications industry by providing low power, high speed, interference-free devices such as electrooptic and all-optical switches on a chip.[citation needed]

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