23 July 2007

Good-bye to the Diffraction Limit?

I love the sound of laws of physics wailing in the morning. Check this out:

The laws of physics dictate that the lenses used to direct light beams cannot focus them onto a spot whose diameter is less than half the light's wavelength... Now Harvard University electrical engineers led by Kenneth Crozier and Federico Capasso have discovered a simple process that could bring the benefits of tightly focused light beams to commercial applications. By adding nanoscale "optical antennas" to a commercially available laser, Crozier­ and Capasso have focused infrared light onto a spot just 40 nanometers wide--one-­twentieth the light's wavelength.
Remarkable. There's just gobs of applications this could enable.

I say it all the time but it bears repeating: we ain't seen nothin' yet, folks. Nano is big.

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