PerspectiveQuantum Materials

Plasmonic imaging is gaining momentum

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Science  14 Jul 2017:
Vol. 357, Issue 6347, pp. 132-133
DOI: 10.1126/science.aan5361

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High-temperature superconductivity, unconventional magnetism, and charge-ordered states are examples of the spectacular properties that arise in solids through many-body effects, a consequence of electrons strongly interacting with one another and with the crystal lattice. In a seminal contribution, Landau introduced quasiparticles, objects that behave in many ways as free electrons but with velocities and masses altered or “renormalized.” Information about the renormalization is encoded, for example, in optical properties of materials (1). The majority of optical studies have focused on response functions that depend on frequency ω, but dependence on momentum q, which is equally valuable, has remained beyond the reach of common spectroscopic tools. On page 187 of this issue, Lundeberg et al. (2) developed a means to probe the nonlocal or q-dependent electromagnetic response by harnessing surface plasmon polaritons (plasmons). Implications of the first results by Lundeberg et al. transcend the studies of graphene, their model system.