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'Nanoantennas' show promise in optical innovations
Date:12/24/2011

ers took the work a step further, creating arrays of nanoantennas and changing the phase and propagation direction of light over a broad range of near-infrared light. The paper was written by doctoral students Xingjie Ni and Naresh K. Emani, principal research scientist Alexander V. Kildishev, assistant professor Alexandra Boltasseva, and Shalaev.

The wavelength size manipulated by the antennas in the Purdue experiment ranges from 1 to 1.9 microns.

"The near infrared, specifically a wavelength of 1.5 microns, is essential for telecommunications," Shalaev said. "Information is transmitted across optical fibers using this wavelength, which makes this innovation potentially practical for advances in telecommunications."

The Harvard researchers predicted how to modify Snell's law and demonstrated the principle at one wavelength.

"We have extended the Harvard team's applications to the near infrared, which is important, and we also showed that it's not a single frequency effect, it's a very broadband effect," Shalaev said. "Having a broadband effect potentially offers a range of technological applications."

The innovation could bring technologies for steering and shaping laser beams for military and communications applications, nanocircuits for computers that use light to process information, and new types of powerful lenses for microscopes.

Critical to the advance is the ability to alter light so that it exhibits "anomalous" behavior: notably, it bends in ways not possible using conventional materials by radically altering its refraction, a process that occurs as electromagnetic waves, including light, bend when passing from one material into another.

Scientists measure this bending of radiation by its "index of refraction." Refraction causes the bent-stick-in-water effect, which occurs when a stick placed in a glass of water appears bent when viewed from the outside. Each material has its own refrac
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Contact: Emil Venere
venere@purdue.edu
765-494-4709
Purdue University
Source:Eurekalert

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