Cutting edge technology

Nanophotonics: Deciphering the "whispering" of photons an

Introduction: What is the wonderful reaction between photons and matter at the nanoscale? What kind of innovations will technology bring to the deciphering of "whispers" between them? At the Y3th Xiangshan Science Conference on the theme of “Nano Photonics Materials” held on December 4th-5th, the experts from the conference brought the latest research results and constructive opinions to the development of the “Galaxy”.

What is the wonderful reaction between photons and matter at the nanoscale? What kind of innovations will technology bring to the deciphering of "whispers" between them? At the Y3th Xiangshan Science Conference on the theme of “Nano Photonics Materials” held on December 4th-5th, the experts from the conference brought the latest research results and constructive opinions to the development of the “Galaxy”.

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Manipulating Light at the Nanoscale

With the continuous development of modern micro-nano processing technology and optical technology, nanophotonics has been around the world for nearly 20 years. It has developed rapidly and demonstrated strong vitality.

The so-called nanophotonics is an interdisciplinary subject with the interaction mechanism and application of light and matter at the nanometer scale. Nanophotonics technology mainly studies the manipulation of light at the nanoscale, can break through the diffraction limit of light and finely regulate the performance of light emission and absorption.

This technology therefore has enormous potential for applications in high-sensitivity detection, sensing, LED, solar cells and communications.

The research in the field of nanophotonics covers a wide range of topics, including nanophotonic material growth, nanostructure assembly and processing, and surface plasmons, photonic crystals, ultrafast spectra, and near-field optical characterization. Materials, mechanisms, characterization methods, devices and applications.

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A number of peculiar physical effects

When the size of a material is reduced to the nanometer scale, many novel physical effects are produced. The quantum confinement effect is one of them. Using this effect, researchers can adjust the wavelength of their light by changing the size of nanostructures such as quantum dots.

For another example, researchers can use nanostructures to regulate light at sub-wavelength scales, allowing light of different frequencies to have different transmissions, reflections, etc., resulting in structural colors, such as the color of some bird feathers.

In addition, surface plasmons can be excited on metal nanostructures, which can break through the diffraction limit of light, compress the light field to the nanometer scale and enhance the intensity of the local light field. The surface plasmon is a kind of elementary excitation in which the electrons in the material are excited to vibrate collectively in the form of waves and propagate along the surface of the material in the form of waves. Similar to the stone thrown in the water will provoke water waves to spread along the water.

Surface plasmons can bind the light field to a spatial extent much smaller than the wavelength of light, achieving a veritable nanophotonics. At present, it has shown great application prospects in many aspects.

For example, functional units such as sub-wavelength optical waveguides, optical splitters, modulators, lasers, and detectors based on surface plasmons are gradually being completed, and metal nanostructures are used as optical antennas for optical energy conversion. It has also emerged in cancer hyperthermia, seawater desalination, and enhanced catalysis.

On the other hand, superstructure materials and superstructure surfaces constructed with artificial microstructures, artificial 'atoms' or 'molecules' are also important forces driving the development of nanophotonics. They have singular optical phenomena such as super-transmission, negative refraction, and stealth, bringing optical research to a new direction.

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can join forces with quantum information technology

Nanophotonics will be combined with the field of quantum information to prepare quantum states and design quantum information devices. On-chip integration provides a new foundation; the continuous breakthrough of nanophotonics in the fields of photocatalysis and precision sensing is also expected to pave the way for the development of the next generation of transformative technologies.

Nanophotonics technology is one of the important strategic research directions affecting the country's future core competitiveness, and it is also one of the supporting technologies for the new economic growth point. Having the intellectual property of nanophotonics technology and promoting these technologies will enhance China's competitive advantage in key areas such as economic and national defense security.

In recent years, with the rapid development of nanomaterials and structures design and preparation technology, advanced optical characterization methods, and the continuous expansion of the talent team, China has achieved a series of important originalities in the field of nanophotonics. The results have reached the international first-class level in several important research directions.

At present, in the field of nanophotonics, there are still many problems in terms of basic theory and practical application. In the field of plasmonicsEnergy loss is one of the key issues that limits the use of plasmon nano-optical waveguides and other nanophotonic devices. On the one hand, we are trying to solve the problem of loss, and on the other hand, we are trying to design new devices by using the loss of plasmons.

Using the refraction of light, we wear glasses to correct vision and see objects; use telescopes and microscopes to broaden the field of view, look up at the stars, and look down on the fibers. Statistics show that more than 80% of the information obtained by humans is obtained optically.

At the same time, under the impetus of advanced manufacturing technology, the structure of matter that humans can control and utilize has entered the nanometer scale, resulting in a variety of nanotechnology. Imagine what kind of sparks will happen when the unpredictable optics meets the nanotechnology of “being better”.

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