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A Nanoscale Wireless Communication System via Plasmonic Antennas

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A schematic representation of the nanoscale wireless communication system.

Researchers at Boston College have developed a nanoscale wireless communication system that operates at visible wavelengths by using antennas to send and receive surface plasmons.

Credit: Juan M. Merlo et al.

Boston College (BC) researchers say they have developed the first nanoscale wireless communication system that operates at visible wavelengths using antennas that send and receive surface plasmons with an unprecedented degree of control.

The device affords an "in-plane" configuration, a class of two-way information transmission and recovery in a single path.

The device achieved communication across several wavelengths in tests using near-field scanning optical microscopy, says BC post-doctoral researcher Juan M. Merlo.

The researchers say the device could speed the transmission of information by as much as 60% versus earlier plasmonic waveguiding techniques, and up to 50% faster than plasmonic nanowire waveguides.

The device uses a three-step conversion process that changes a surface plasmon to a photon on transmission and then converts that elemental electromagnetic particle back to a surface plasmon as the receiver picks it up.

"We have developed a device where plasmonic antennas communicate with each other with photons transmitting between them," says BC professor Michael J. Naugton. He notes the device relies on the creation of a small gap of air between the waves and the silver surface of the device.

"We're developing a tool to make silicon photonics faster and greatly enhance rates of communication," Merlo says.

From BC News
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