An ultrafine nanometre drill could be used to make some of the tiniest lenses imaginable and may also allow scientists to harness light for use in optical computers of the future, thanks to research published today.
Scientists from the UK and Spain describe in this weeks Science Express (8 July) how artificial materials with tiny grooves and holes drilled into their surfaces could channel and focus light beams on a chip.
When light hits the surface of a metal such as silver, as well as a reflection, another form of light is excited at the surface. This light, bound to the surface as a small mixture of light and electrons, is called a surface plasmon, its behaviour likened to waves on the surface of a sea of electrons. For many years a curiosity, the properties of plasmons have only recently been fully explored.
Tom Miller | alfa
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