Physics

Controlling Power Flow

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Science  16 Aug 2013:
Vol. 341, Issue 6147, pp. 696
DOI: 10.1126/science.341.6147.696-d

Optoelectronic devices lie at the heart of the technology industry. Shrinking the size (and increasing the operation speed) of the devices are often limited by the optical components, whose sizes generally exceed many tens of wavelengths. Surface plasmons are collective electronic excitations induced by photons interacting with a metal, effectively confining the light to subwavelength dimensions and offering the possibility of bridging the optical and electronic size gap. Much effort in nanophotonics is geared toward controlling the directional flow of plasmons. To this end, Davoyan and Engheta present a theoretical study that combines plasmonic nanostructures with magnetooptical elements. Their numerical simulations show that it may be possible to control the energy flow of the plasmons in such a hybrid structure, thereby providing a possible route to manipulating light at the nanoscale.

Phys. Rev. Lett. 111, 047401 (2013).

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