On-chip nanometre-scale devices that use metals (known as “plasmonic” devices) allow for functionality that no conventional photonic device allows. Most notably, they efficiently compress light down to a few billionths of a metre and thus achieve hugely enhanced, interference-free, light-to-matter interactions.
“We have shown that two separate designs can be joined together to enhance a run-of-the-mill chip that previously did nothing special,” Dr Tuniz said. This modular approach allows for rapid rotation of light polarisation in the chip and, because of that rotation, quickly permits nano-focusing down to about 100 times less than the wavelength.
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