August 31, 2012

Photonic Interactions at the Atomic Level

By measuring the unique properties of light on the scale of a single atom, researchers from Duke University and Imperial College, London, believe that they have characterized the limits of the ability of metals to be used in devices that rely on the enhancement of light.

This field is known as plasmonics because scientists are trying to take advantage of plasmons, electrons that have been “excited” by light in a phenomenon that produces electromagnetic field enhancement. The enhancement achieved by means of metals at the nanoscale is significantly higher than that achievable with any other material.