Applied Physics

Taking a Shine to Optical Transistors

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Science  04 May 2001:
Vol. 292, Issue 5518, pp. 813
DOI: 10.1126/science.292.5518.813a

To produce an all-optical logic architecture will require the development of components analogous to those that drive digital electronics, especially the optical equivalent of the electronic transistor. In such a device, an input signal would be switched on by a second light signal: the gate. Illuminating a metal surface can result in the creation of surface plasmons, a collection of excited electrons at the surface of the metal. The surface plasmons produce an extended electromagnetic field that can interact with small particles positioned in close proximity to produce effective light-scattering centers. Using two lasers, one red and the other blue, focused on the same spot of a fast-rotating optical disk decorated with silver particles, Tominaga et al. show that the blue laser light scattered from these centers can be enhanced 60-fold by controlling the incident power of the red laser. Such switching of light with light brings the realization of an all-optical transistor a step closer. — ISO

Appl. Phys. Lett.78, 2417 (2001).

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