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Imperial College London Professor Stefan Maier

The research program will "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," says Imperial professor Stefan Maier.

Credit: Imperial College London

Queen's University Belfast and Imperial College London have launched a program that will conduct research into the interaction of light with matter at the nanoscale level. The £6 million program is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). The research could lead to the development of computers that use light to process information.

Currently, computers use nanoscale metallic wires to transfer information as an electric current, and transferring information between electronic components slows down the processing speed. However, the programs at Queen's and Imperial will focus on finding a way to send light signals along the nanoscale metallic wires in the form of light by developing nanoscale metal structures to guide and direct light. The nanoscale metal structures potentially could be used by optical computers that would operate at much higher speeds than current computers, and the science behind nanoplasmonic devices could be used to make Internet services faster.

"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," says Imperial professor Stefan Maier.

From Queen's University Belfast
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