A Caltech Library Service

The new "p-n junction": Plasmonics enables photonic access to the nanoworld

Atwater, Harry A. and Maier, Stefan and Polman, Albert and Dionne, Jennifer A. and Sweatlock, Luke (2005) The new "p-n junction": Plasmonics enables photonic access to the nanoworld. MRS Bulletin, 30 (5). pp. 385-389. ISSN 0883-7694.

PDF - Published Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


Since the development of the light microscope in the 16th century, optical device size and performance have been limited by diffraction. Optoelectronic devices of today are much bigger than the smallest electronic devices for this reason. Achieving control of light-material interactions for photonic device applications at the nanoscale requires structures that guide electromagnetic energy with subwavelength-scale mode confinement. By converting the optical mode into nonradiating surface plasmons, electromagnetic energy can be guided in structures with lateral dimensions of less than 10% of the free-space wavelength. A variety of methods-including electron-beam lithography and self-assembly-have been used to construct both particle and planar plasmon waveguides. Recent experimental studies have confirmed the strongly coupled collective plasmonic modes of metallic nanostructures. In plasmon waveguides consisting of closely spaced silver rods, electromagnetic energy transport over distances of 0.5 mu m has been observed. Moreover, numerical simulations suggest the possibility of multi-centimeter plasmon propagation in thin metallic stripes. Thus, there appears to be no fundamental scaling limit to the size and density of photonic devices, and ongoing work is aimed at identifying important device performance criteria in the subwavelength size regime. Ultimately, it may be possible to design an entire class of subwavelength-scale optoelectronic components (waveguides, sources, detectors, modulators) that could form the building blocks of an optical device technology-a technology scalable to molecular dimensions, with potential imaging, spectroscopy, and interconnection applications in computing, communications, and chemical/biological detection.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Atwater, Harry A.0000-0001-9435-0201
Maier, Stefan0000-0002-2210-6290
Polman, Albert0000-0002-0685-3886
Dionne, Jennifer A.0000-0001-5287-4357
Additional Information:© 2005 Materials Research Society. Special issue: Synthesis and Plasmonic Properties of Nanostructures, MRS Bulletin, Volume 30, No. 5, May 2005. Guest Editors: Y. Xia and N.J. Halas
Subject Keywords:dispersion, nanoparticles, surface plasmons, waveguides
Issue or Number:5
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:ATWmrsb05a
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:3856
Deposited By: Lindsay Cleary
Deposited On:17 Jul 2006
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:19

Repository Staff Only: item control page