UK research on nanoplasmonic devices could have implications for optical computing

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Also, I get to use the phrase “nanoplasmonic devices” in a headline. The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has announced a £6 million program. The program funds Queen’s and Imperial College London to create a new program to study nanoplasmonic devices.

Nanoplasmonic devices’ key components are tiny nanoscale metal structures — more then 100 times smaller than the width of a human hair — that guide and direct light.

The structures have been tailor-made to interact with light in an unusual and highly controlled way. This means they could one day be used to build new kinds of super-high-speed “optical computers” — so named because they would process information using light signals, instead of the electric currents used by today’s computers.

…Professor Stefan Maier, who leads the research team at Imperial, added: “This is an exciting step towards developing computers that use light waves, not electrical current, to handle data and process information. In the future these optical computers will provide us with more processing power and higher speed. This will also open the door to a world of possibilities in scientific fields at the interface with the biosciences, and perhaps even in the world of personal computing.”

Tip o’ the hat to HPCwire for the post.