Monday, May 7, 2018

Practical Plasmonic Circuits are Almost Here!

Article Written By: Juliana Zadarko


Image: Nathaniel Kinsey/Virginia Commonwealth University

Photonics could be revolutionized through the field of plasmonics. Due to this, an international team of researchers from Perdue University, ETH Zürich, the University of Washington, and Virginia Commonwealth University have all collaborated to further the development of practical plasmonic circuits. 

When light hits a metal surface, it produces waves of electrons (surface plasmons) which may be exploited; Plasmonics is the study and application of these waves.  Since plasmon waves are much shorter than light waves, advancements in this technology could help transform integrated circuits. 

The property of “loss” has been one major concern in the industry as it what allows surface plasmons to absorb light used within plasmonic circuits. However, this team of researchers have created a switch using a ring modulator to prevent photons from interfering with surface plasmons. Alexandra Boltasseva from Purdue University, a co-author of the research, explains, “We show that by clever engineering, these losses can be bypassed, or even used to our advantage.”

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