Plasmonics can be easily integrated with standard electronic circuits for the first time

07/03/2013 - 00:00

EPFL scientists have discovered how optical signal transmission can be controlled, paving the way for the integration of plasmonics with conventional electronic circuits.

When light hits a metal under certain circumstances, it generates a density wave of the electrons on its surface, like throwing a stone in water. This wave is called a plasmon, and it is small and rapid, occurring at optical frequencies. Plasmonics, the study of plasmons, has gained tremendous interest worldwide as it might offer a way to bridge electronic and optical circuits in technologies like computers, creating superfast processors. However, integrating plasmonics with regular electronic circuits requires the ability to control the plasmons. In an exciting Nano Letters publication, EPFL scientists collaborating with the Max Plank Institute have found how plasmons can be controlled in terms of energy and space.