Document By SANTOSH BHARADWAJ REDDY Email: email@example.com
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With the increasing quest for transporting large amounts of data at a fast speed along with miniaturization, both electronics and photonics are facing limitations. Photonic components such as fiber-optic cables can carry a lot of data but are bulky compared to electronic circuits. Electronic components such as wires and transistors can be incredibly small but carry less data. A problem holding back the progress of computing is that with mismatched capacities and sizes, the two technologies are hard to combine in a circuit. Photonic components such as fiber optic cables can carry a lot of data but are bulky compared to electronic circuits. Electronic components such as wires and transistors carry less data but can be incredibly small. Researchers can cobble them together, but a single technology that has the capacity of
photonics and smallness of electronics would be the best bridge of all. Researchers are pioneering such a technology called ‘plasmonics’. Plasmonics, also called ‘light on a wire’, would allow transmission of data at optical frequencies along the surface of a tiny metallic wire, despite the fact that the data travels in the form of electron density distributions rather than photons.
What is plasmonics? Plasmonics refers to the investigation, development and applications of enhanced electromagnetic properties of metallic nanostructures. The term plasmonics is derived from plasmons, which are the quanta associated with longitudinal waves propagating in matter through the collective motion of large numbers of electrons. These plasmons travel at the speed of light and are created when light hits a metal at a
particular angle, causing waves to propagate through electrons near the surface. Plasmonics exploits nanoscale structural transformations which are supported by rigorous numerical analysis. Plasma is a medium with equal concentration of positive and negative charges, of which at least one charge type is mobile. In a solid, the negative charges of the conduction electrons (i.e., electron gas) are balanced by an equal concentration of positive charge of the ion cores. A plasma oscillation in a metal is a collective longitudinal excitation of the conduction electron gas against a background of fixed positive ions with a plasma frequency. Those plasmons that are confined to surfaces and which interact strongly with light are known as surface plasmons. Surface plasmons are dense waves of electrons—bunches of electrons passing a point regularly—along the surface of a metal. Plasmons have the same frequencies and electromagnetic fields as light, but their sub-wave-length size means that they take up less space. Plasmonics, then, is the technology of transmitting these light-like waves along nanoscale wires. With every wave, we can, in principle, carry information. Surface plasmons: The existence of ‘surface plasmons’ in metallic structures opens up a multitude of new possibilities for photonic devices as they allow the propagation and concentration of light in subwavelength spaces. A surface plasmon is a coherent electron oscillation that propagates along the interface together with an electromagnetic wave. I.e., the interface between a conductor and an insulator is where surface plasmons propagate; bound to the surface between the two, they
exponentially decay into both media. These unique interface waves result from the special dispersion characteristics of metals. Surface plasmons are very sensitive to the properties of the materials on which they propagate. What distinguishes surface plasmons from ‘regular’ photons is that they have a much smaller wavelength at the same frequency. An interface between a dielectric and a metal can support a surface plasmon. The short-wavelength surface plasmons enable the fabrication of nanoscale optical integrated circuits, in which light can be guided, split, filtered, and even amplified using plasmonic integrated circuits that are smaller than the optical wavelength. At a given frequency, the surface plasmon wavelength is strongly dependent on the metal thickness. Surface Plasmons cannot couple directly to free-space electromagnetic radiation of the same energy because they travel too slowly, their associated wavevector being too large to satisfy conservation of energy and momentum.
3. How do they work?
In plasmonics, light is first converted into plasmons, which then propagate in a metallic surface, but with a wavelength smaller than the original light; the plasmons could then be processed with their own two-dimensional optical components and later plasmons could be turned back into light or into electric signals. Light can be localized and manipulated in appropriately designed metallic and metallodielectric nanoparticle array structures. In particular, interesting
phenomena occur near the plasmon frequency where optical extinction is resonantly enhanced and at the plasma frequency where the real part of the dielectric constant changes sign. Due to their high reflection and absorption coefficients, metal structures have been generally overlooked as elements to guide, focus and switch light at visible and infrared wavelengths. However at the nanoscale the intriguing guiding and refractive properties of metal structures can be realized since the metal components become semitransparent due to their small size. Local arrays of electronic transistors would carry out the switching necessary for computation, but when a lot of data needs an express lane to travel from one section of a chip to another; electronic bits could be converted to plasmon waves, sent along a plasmonic wire and converted back to electronic bits at their destination. When a light source is placed close to a metal, it can excite a surface plasmon through a near-field interaction. When light of specific frequency strikes a plasmon that oscillates at a compatible frequency, the energy from light is harvested by the plasmon, converted into electrical energy that propogates through the nanostructure and eventually converted back into light. And with a light-emitting diode embedded in a plasmonic structure, surface plasmons can be electrically excited. Such surface plasmons may serve as an alternative to overcome the information bottlenecks presented by electrical interconnects in integrated circuits. Coupling to surface plasmons can also enhance the extraction efficiency of light from LEDs. Ordered arrays of nanoparticles can possess even further enhanced field intensities as a result of plasmon coupling between adjacent
particles. By varying nanoparticle shape or geometry, the surface plasmon resonance frequency can be tuned over a broad spectral range. For example, a HeNe laser, whose free-space emission wavelength is 633 nm, can excite a surface plasmon at a Si/Ag interface with a wavelength of only 70 nm. When the laser frequency is tuned very close to the surface plasmon resonance, surface plasmon wavelengths in the nanometer range can be achieved.
4. Benefits are many…
The big advantage of plasmons is that you can make the devices the same size as electrical components but give them the speed of photons. Plasmon waves are of particular interest because these are at optical frequencies. The higher the frequency of the wave, the more the information we can transport. Optical frequencies are about 100,000 times greater than the frequency of today’s electronic microprocessors. The key is using a material with a low refractive index, ideally negative, such that the incoming electromagnetic energy is reflected parallel to the surface of the material and transmitted along its length as far as possible. There exists no natural material with negative refractive index, so nanostructured material must be used to fabricate effective plasmonic devices. For this reason, plasmonics is frequentl associated with nanotechnology. Plasmonics describes how ultrasmall metallic structures of various shapes capture and manipulate light and provides a practical design tool for nanoscale optical components. The fact that light interacts with nanostructures overcomes the belief held for more than a century that
light waves couldn’t interact with anything smaller than their own wavelengths. Research has shown that nanoscale objects can amplify the focus light in ways scientists never imagined. The ‘how’ of this involves plasmons—ripples of waves in the ocean of electrons flowing across the surface of metallic nanostructures. The type of plasmon that exists on a surface is directly related to its geometric structure. “The plasmonic waveguides allow light to be very tightly Localized and this is a feasible way of developing efficient optical ‘wires’ and chips with the required level of integration similar to modern electronic chips.” The scaling of optical devices and components to their ultimate size limits will require that electromagnetic energy be guided on a scale below the diffraction limit and that information be guided around sharp corners with nanometer-scale radii of curvature. Plasmon waveguides are periodic chain arrays of metal nanoparticles which can localize light in guided modes whose size is a few percent of the optical wavelength. Such waveguides can enable efficient power transfer around sharp corners and may form the basis for nanoscale all-optical switches. Metallic nanoparticles have distinctly different optical characteristics than surface plasmons at planar interfaces. Planar waveguides and photonic crystal structures are being intensively investigated as primary solutions for integrated photonic devices. Nanoparticles show strong optical resonances, again because of their large free-electron density. Arrays of metal nanoparticles can also be used as miniature optical waveguides. These nanoparticle array waveguides provide confinement of light within ~50 nm along the direction of
propagation, a 100-fold concentration compared to dielectric waveguides. There is a vast array of plasmonic concepts still waiting to be explored, with applications spanning (bio-) sensing, optical storage, solid-state lighting, interconnects, and waveguides.
5. R&D so far...
The field of plasmonics, which has existed only for a few years, has already attracted researchers from the industry and government. Studying the way light interacts with metallic nanostructures will make it easier to design new optical materials and devices from the bottom up, using metal particles of specifically tailored shapes. One primary goal of this field is to develop new optical components and systems that are of the same size as today’s smallest integrated circuits and that could ultimately be integrated with electronics on the same chip. The research shows that the equations that determine the frequencies of plasmons and complex nanoparticles are almost identical to the quantum mechanical equations that determine the energies of protons in atoms and molecules called ‘plasmon hybridization’. Just as quantum mechanics allows scientists to predict the properties of complex molecules, research shows that the properties of plasmons in complex metallic nanostructures can be predicted in a simple manner. The findings are applicable not only to nanoshells but also to nanoscale waveguides and other nanophotonic structures. The ultimate goal of R&D is to demonstrate plasmonics in action on a standard silicon chip and make working plasmonic components. The next step will
be to integrate the components with an electronic chip to demonstrate plasmonic data generation, transport and detection. Plasmons are generated when, under the right conditions, light strikes a metal. The electric field of the light jiggles the electrons in the metal to the light's frequency, setting off density waves of electrons. Plasmon waves behave on metals much like light waves behave in glass, meaning that plasmonic engineers can employ all the ingenious tricks that photonic engineers use to cram more data down a cable—such as multiplexing, or sending multiple waves. Meanwhile, because plasmonic components can be crafted from the same materials that the chipmakers use today, engineers are hopeful that they can make all the devices needed to route light around a processor or other kind of chip. These would include plasmon sources, detectors and wires as well as splitters and even transistors.
6. Limitations do exist!!
The potential of plasmonics right now is mainly limited by the fact that plasmons can typically travel only several millimeters before they peter out. Chips, meanwhile, are typically about a centimeter across, so plasmons can’t yet go the whole distance. For sending data even longer distances, the technology would need even more improvement. The key is using a material with a low refractive index, ideally negative, such that the incoming electromagnetic energy is reflected parallel to the surface of the material and transmitted along its length as far as possible. There exists no natural material with a negative refractive index, so nanostructured materials must be used to fabricate effective plasmonic devices.
For this reason, plasmonics is frequently associated with nanotechnology. The distance that a plasmon can travel before dying out is a function of several aspects of the metal. But for optimal transfer through a wire of any metal, the surface of contact with surrounding materials must be as smooth as possible and the metal should not have impurities. For most wavelengths of visible light, aluminium allows plasmons to travel farther than other metals such as gold, silver and copper. It is somewhat ironic that aluminium is the best metal to use because the semiconductor industry recently dumped aluminium in favour of copper—the better electrical conductor— as its wiring of choice. Of course, it may turn out that some kind of alloy will have even better plasmonic properties than either aluminium or copper. Another classic semiconductor issue that the researchers will have to address is ‘heat’. Chipmakers are constantly striving to ensure that their electronic chips don’t run too hot. Plasmonics also will generate some heat, but the exact amount is not yet known. Even if plasmonics runs as hot as electronics, it will still have the advantage of a higher data capacity in the same space.
7. Promising applications:
The study of plasmonics is one of the fastest growing fields in optics because it could prove useful for a wide range of applications in biological sensing, microelectronics, chemical detection, medical technology and others. They have been proposed as a means of high resolution lithography and microscopy due to their extremely small wavelengths. Both of these applications have seen successful
demonstrations in the lab environment. Finally, surface plasmons have the unique capacity to confine light to very small dimensions which could enable many new applications. The sensitivity of surface plasmons to the properties of materials has lead to their use to measure the thickness of mono layers on colloid films, such as screening and quantifying protein binding events. “Before all-plasmonic chips are developed, plasmonics will probably be integrated with conventional silicon devices. Plasmonic wires will act as high bandwidth freeways across the busiest areas of the chip”. Plasmons have a variety of potential uses. Plasmon wires can be much thinner than conventional wires, and could support much higher frequencies, so plasmons have been considered as a means of transmitting information on computer chips. Applications of surface plasmons in solid-state lighting and lasing are just appearing, but it may be that traffic lights are composed of surface plasmon LEDs in a few years time. Surface-plasmon-based sensors find uses in gas sensing, biological environments such as immuno-sensing and electrochemical studies. The ability to achieve locally intense fields has many possible applications, including increasing the efficiency of LEDs, (bio-) sensing, and nanolithography. Plasmon printing is a new approach to lithographic printing that takes advantage of the resonantly enhanced optical intensity in optical nearfield of metallic nanoparticles, and that could enable printing of deep subwavelength features using conventional photoresist and simple visible/ultraviolet light sources. Plasmonics has also been used in biosensors. When a particular protein or DNA molecule rests on the surface of a
plasmon-carrying metallic material, it leaves its characteristic signature in the angle at which it reflects the energy. Currently the biggest application for plasmons is in gold-coated glass biosensors, which detect when particular proteins or DNA are present - the biomatter changes the angle at which light hitting the surface produces the most intense plasmons. Nanolithography is a term used to describe a number of techniques for creating incredibly small structures. The sizes involved are on the order of tens of nanometers (nm). One common method of nanolithography, used particularly in the creation of microchips, is known as photolithography. This technique is a parallel method of nanolithography in which the entire surface is drawn on in a single moment. Photolithography is limited in the size it can reduce to, however, because if the wavelength of light used is made too small the lens simply absorbs the light in its entirety. In the field of chemical sensing, plasmonics offers the possibility of new technologies that will allow doctors, antiterror squads and environmental experts to detect chemicals in quantities as small as a single molecule.
8. What’s the future hold?
The production of light in a standard CMOS process is a ‘fundamentally disruptive force’ in the semiconductor industry. Light emission technologies will transform the current semiconductor integrated circuit market for decades to come. By bridging the growing gap between the massive computing power of leading-edge microprocessors and the ability to quickly move data on and off chip, Applied
Plasmonics’ technology will support both current and future generations of integrated circuits. With speeds more then a thousand times faster than conventional on-chip wiring, Applied Plasmonics’ optical-based technology will support data rates substantially higher than those achieved by current copper interconnect technologies used in today’s integrated circuits. Applied Plasmonics’ technology enables these massive data rates through light emission devices that are directly interfaced to and between integrated circuits, printed circuit boards, and local area networks. This massive increase in available bandwidth will create new and unprecedented applications by bringing optics-based data communications to the chip and “desktop”. In addition, there is also the potential to use light for future intra-chip transport of signals and clocks within a single CMOS silicon integrated circuit. This can possibly “tame” one of the most demanding aspects of modern chip design.
-Built multiple frequency devices on one chip at the same time, and in the same layer. -Showed that devices can be built that emit selective frequencies of light. -Tested emitter switching speeds at 130MHzMEM, limited only by readily available, commercial, detectors. -Developed a comprehensive understanding of theory/design/test/fabrication for its light emitting devices. -Developed frequency-related design rules for development, design, and manufacturing of its light emitting technologies.
Since 2001, there has been an explosive growth of scientific interest in the role of plasmons in optical phenomena including guided-wave propagation and imaging at the subwavelength scale, nonlinear spectroscopy and ‘negative index’ metamaterials. The unusual dispersion properties of metals near the plasmon resonance enables excitation of surface modes and resonant modes in nanostructures that access a very large range of wavevectors over a narrow frequency range, and accordingly, resonant plasmon excitation allows for light localization in ultra-small volumes. This feature constitutes a critical design principle for light localization below the free space wavelength and opens the path to truly nanoscale plasmonic optical devices. This principle, combined with quantitative electromagnetic simulation methods and a broad portfolio of established and emerging nanofabrication
9. Building Devices:
In addition to the fundamental plasmon breakthroughs, Applied Plasmonics has accomplished significant technical milestones relating to its light emittingtechnologies. Emitter devices:-Designed, fabricated, and tested lightemitting plasmon devices. -Shown that different and multiple modes can be achieved in one device at the same time.
methods creates the conditions for dramatic scientific progress and a new class of subwavelength optical components. The production of light emission technologies in a standard CMOS process offers the promise to transform the semiconductor integrated circuit market for decades to come. Applied Plasmonics technology will support both current and future generations of microprocessors and will reduce the growing gap between the
ever-increasing computing power of leading-edge microprocessors and the inability to quickly move data on and off chip.
1. 2. EFY magazines.. www.sciencedaily.com www.wisegeek.com Etc….
Document By SANTOSH BHARADWAJ REDDY Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Engineeringpapers.blogspot.com More Papers and Presentations available on above site