Better living through plasmonics

Mixing light with nanotechnology could help treat cancer and build faster computers

By Jenny Lauren Lee, 11:21 AM October 22, 2009

A well-polished mirror reflects the world faithfully back to the viewer’s eyes. But break that mirror into billions of nanosized chunks and each tiny silver sliver would not reflect the world with such fidelity. Instead of bouncing back to the viewer, the light would be sucked into the surface of the nanochunk like a genie into a bottle.

When it hits the surface of a scrap of metal, light can set off a wave in the free electrons hanging out on the metal’s surface. This wave carries the light...

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