PerspectiveApplied Physics

Refractory Plasmonics

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Science  18 Apr 2014:
Vol. 344, Issue 6181, pp. 263-264
DOI: 10.1126/science.1252722

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Refractory materials are defined as those with a high melting point and chemical stability at temperatures above 2000°C. Applications based on refractory materials, usually nonmetallic, span a wide range of areas including industrial furnaces, space shuttle shields, and semiconductor technology. Metals have also been studied as refractories; however, the optical properties of those metals that have been tried for high-temperature applications were not good enough to be used in plasmonic applications (these are almost entirely based on noble metals, which are not good refractories). Refractory materials that exhibit reasonably good plasmonic behavior would undoubtedly enable new devices and boost such existing applications as heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) (1), solar/thermophotovoltaics (S/TPV) (2), plasmon-assisted chemical vapor deposition (3), solar thermoelectric generators (4), and nanoscale heat transfer systems (5).