PerspectiveMaterials Science

All that glitters need not be gold

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Science  20 Mar 2015:
Vol. 347, Issue 6228, pp. 1308-1310
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa8282

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Recent years have seen dramatic growth in the field of nanoscale optics. The advantages of nanophotonics—wide bandwidth, no cross-talk, high speed, and compactness—are key factors enabling optical technologies that have an impact on many areas of society, including information and communications, imaging and sensing, health care, energy, manufacturing, and national security. Gold nanostructures have long been seen as building blocks for subwavelength optical and hybrid electronic-photonic systems providing functional solutions for the above-mentioned applications (1). By making use of the resonant properties of metal nanostructures, particularly the subwavelength coupled oscillations known as surface plasmons, the fields of plasmonics and optical metamaterials have brought forth numerous nanoscale device concepts (1, 2).