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July 18, 2005

Pulse of vertically polarized light

A simulation of a pulse of vertically polarized light that's 400 nanometers (nm) and showing 100 nm scale localization when passing (left to right) through a funnel configuration of 30 nm diameter silver nanowires.

The purpose of this research, carried out at Argonne National Laboratory, was to learn how to control visible and near-visible light on the nanoscale (nanophotonics) with future generations of optical and electronic devices in mind.

Traditional optics are useless at the nanoscale and optical imaging is generally limited to the wavelength of the light you look with. For visible light, that means no less than about 400 nm (the wavelength of blue light). It would be great to control light or electromagnetic energy in nanosized optical devices. There may be a possible solution, like using near-field coupling of light with surface plasmons of metal nanoparticles so that arrays of metal nanoparticles become photonic devices. This might allow control of steady or pulsed modes of illumination. Research in this direction is being guided by the power of modern computation. [For more details about this and related research, see S.K. Gray and T. Kupka, Phys. Rev. B 68, 045415 (2003) and J.M. Oliva and S.K. Gray, Chem. Phys. Lett, 379, 325 (2003).] (Year of image: 2003)

Credit: This image was generated by Stephen K. Gray, Chemistry Division, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, IL 60439. (email: This work was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, Division of Chemistry

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