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October 16th, 2003
Light and nano: quantum mechanics vs. classical optics
According to new research from Rice University, scientists studying the way light interacts with metallic nanostructures should throw out their old optics textbooks and bone up on their quantum mechanics instead.
The new findings offer a new understanding of plasmonics, an emerging field of optics aimed at the study of light at the nanometer scale - at dimensions far smaller than a wavelength of light, smaller than today's smallest electronic devices. Rice's findings will make it easier for scientists and engineers to design new optical materials and devices "from the bottom up," using metal particles of specifically tailored shapes.
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