New Optical Resonator for Potential Power-on-a-Chip Applications
By combining nanoplasmonics and optical resonators, researchers at the University of Illinois have developed a new, microscopic optical amplifier. The amplifier may find some interesting uses in medicine, as a means for implanted sensors and devices to communicate with networks outside of a patient's body.
When the researchers started this work, they knew it would be difficult because of the diffraction limit of light, which puts a lower limit on the size of a device. To get around this limit, the researchers turned to plasmonics, which link photons and electrons in such a way that metal objects can break the limit. The amplifier consists of a nano-structured surface with microspheres made of polystyrene or glass on top. When a beam of light strikes the microsphere, a narrowband optical signals is created within it, and molecules on the outside of the sphere amplify it. Because of how the spheres interact with the plasmonic nanostructures on the surface, a red or green light is created with a bandwidth matching the internal signal.
Among the potential applications for this technology are power-on-a-chip systems, as it could be used to route power on a chip. Also, as the initial light signal is of a frequency that can pass through skin, these amplifiers could be used for communication between devices inside and outside of a patient.
Source: University of Illinois