PerspectiveApplied Physics

Metamaterials with Quantum Gain

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Science  08 Feb 2013:
Vol. 339, Issue 6120, pp. 654-655
DOI: 10.1126/science.1231254

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Optical metamaterials and nanoplasmonics offer extreme control and localization of light within volumes that can be smaller than a cubic light wavelength by more than three orders of magnitude, but they suffer from appreciable dissipative losses. This weakness is thought to constitute the prime impediment before many of the envisaged applications can succeed in practice. However, recent breakthroughs in the theoretical understanding and experimental fabrication of gain-enhanced metamaterials and nanoplasmonic heterostructures promise to overcome these hindrances, while allowing for new ways to control spontaneous and stimulated emission of light on the nanoscale (1, 2).