The rapid and on-going development of micro-miniature optical electronic devices is helping to usher in a new era of photonic computers and light-based memories
that promise super-fast processor speeds and ultra-secure
communications. However, as these components are shrunk ever further, fundamental limits to their dimensions are dictated by the wavelength of light itself. Now researchers at ETH Zurich claim to have overcome this limitation by creating both the world's smallest optical switch using a single atom,
and accompanying circuitry that appears to break the rules by being
smaller than the wavelength of the light that passes through it.
A team from the US Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National
Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has created a 2D laser just one molecule thick that promises to make significant
advances in ultra-compact photonic components for the likes of quantum
computers and the next generation of optoelectronic devices.
Using nanometer-size metamaterials, researchers at Missouri University of Science and Technology have developed a technique to print images that uses the manipulation of light, rather than the application of ink, to produce colors. This "no-ink" printing method has been demonstrated by producing a Missouri S&T athletic logo just 50 micrometers wide.