Physics

Wedging in Plasmons

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Science  24 May 2013:
Vol. 340, Issue 6135, pp. 903
DOI: 10.1126/science.340.6135.903-c

Although light provides the capability of transferring vast amounts of data quickly, nanoelectronics offer the ultimate in shrinkability for chip-scale circuits. Integrating or hybridizing the two technologies is desirable but challenging because of the several orders of magnitude difference in length scales between them. Surface plasmons, the light-induced collective electronic excitations that propagate at the surface of a metal, may offer the possibility of a robust bridge. Much effort, therefore, is being directed to manipulating the direction and lifetime of these propagating excitations. Using a graded index wedge of photoresist on top of a layer of gold, Bleckmann et al. show that the propagation of beams of nondiffracting (nonspreading) surface plasmons along the gold surface is dependent on the geometrical parameters of the wedge-shaped dielectric. The results suggest a fairly simple route to the launch and control of the directional propagation of surface plasmons for future nanoscale optoelectronic circuits.

Opt. Lett. 38, 1443 (2013).

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