Berkeley Researchers Demonstrate GRIN Plasmonics For the 1st TimeJanuary 24, 2011 0 Comments
The language of this article might be difficult to decipher, but this is an important physics breakthrough in tech news. Plasmonics are a hybrid technology, attempting to fuse the best traits of optical and electrical data transfer.
For example, fiber optic wires allow high bandwidths of information, but require bulky wires. In contrast, electronic data transfer only requires tiny wires, but they function at frequencies much inferior to fiber optics.
So, think of Plasmonics as attempting to send "light through a wire". A "plasmon" is a wave of electrons created when light hits a metal surface under specific conditions. Because the electrical impulse is created optically, it allows for vastly superior transfers of data along a wire.
GRIN stands for "gradient index" and refers to the special kind of lenses they use in their experiments. A normal lens bends light according to its shape. A "gradient index" lens manipulates light according to its material and density, but is independent of shape (i.e. a non-spherical "gradient index lens" can be made to bend light like a normal, spherical lens).
So, to make a long article shorter, these research teams led by a man named Xiang Zhang have opened the door to such technologies as:
- A superfast photonic computer (computers using light instead of electricity to process data)
- Microscopes that can see DNA molecules with visible light
- Invisibility cloaks
And so on.