Needle Beam Propagates Without Spreading
A new type of light beam called a "needle beam" has been discovered by Harvard-led researchers. The needle beam apparently propagates without spreading outward, moving along a specially-prepared surface.
(Federico Capasso (left) and Patrice Genevet demo 'needle beam' tech)
The needle beam arises from a special class of quasiparticles called surface plasmons, which travel in tight confinement with a metal surface. The metallic stripes that carry these surface plasmons have the potential to replace standard copper electrical interconnects in microprocessors, enabling ultrafast on-chip communications.
One of the fundamental problems that has so far hindered the development of such optical interconnects is the fact that all waves naturally spread laterally during propagation, a phenomenon known as diffraction. This reduces the portion of the signal that can actually be detected.
"We have made a major step toward solving this problem by discovering and experimentally confirming the existence of a previously overlooked solution of Maxwell's equations that govern all light phenomena," says principal investigator Federico Capasso, Robert L. Wallace Professor of Applied Physics and Vinton Hayes Senior Research Fellow in Electrical Engineering at SEAS. "The solution is a highly localized surface plasmon wave that propagates for a long distance, approximately 80 microns in our experiments, in a straight line without any diffraction."
The so-called needle beam, the technical term for which is a cosine-Gauss plasmon beam, propagates in tight confinement with a nanostructured metal surface...
The idea of a form of electromagnetic communication that does not spread out is mentioned by EE 'Doc' Smith in his 1930 novel Skylark Three (see the article on tight-beam communication).
However, a closer match is probably the similarly-named needlecast from Richard Morgan's 2003 novel Altered Carbon:
"...How regular is the update?”
Bancroft smiled. "Every 48 hours." He tapped the back of his neck. "Direct needlecast from here into a shielded stack over at the PsychaSec installation at Alcatraz."
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 9/8/2012)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )
Related News Stories -
Face2Face Is Bradbury's Spot-Wavex Scrambler
'A special spot-wavex scrambler also caused his televised image... to mouth the vowels and consonants beautifully.' - Ray Bradbury, 1953.
Tony Stark's Transparent Phone Possible With Graphene?
A nearly unbreakable smartphone - based on graphene.
Needle Beam Propagates Without Spreading
'Direct needlecast from here into a shielded stack...'
Penguin E-Books For Libraries
Read about it on your iPad.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Bat Bot Robotic Flapping-Wing Drone
'The dark birdforms dotted the mountaintops like statues of prehistoric beasts, wings outspread...'
NASA's Astronaut Rescue Ball
'Ball and closely-prisoned man plummeted downward..'
ARM Wants To Build Brain Chips
'Slivers of microsoft, angular fragments of colored silicon...'
Sky Fence - A Drone-Proof Shield Created Over Prison
'There’s still a protective field over the whole thing. It volatilizes anything that tries to get through.'
Geoengineering The Atmosphere For Climate Change
'...a uniform temperature for each degree of latitude the year round.'
Archinaut Orbiting Robotic Factory
'mass-produced only in the orbiting factories...'
Cryonic Preservation - The Last Perk You'll Ever Need
'Is there not also a law providing for voluntary suspension of animation?'
Computers Understand Humans By Watching And Modeling Them
Soon, your computer will be watching you... and judging you.
NASA Asks For Moon To Earth Delivery Ideas
'Authority's 3-g catapult was almost one hundred kilometers long...'
Musk Tunnels Wisely Restrict Drivers
Too many robots.
Robot Swarms Controlled With Augmented Reality
'You're not thinking in enough dimensions...'
MIT's C-LEARN Helps Robots Transfer Learning To Other Robots
'Talk Between Robots radio...'
Mini-Brains In A Dish
'Cultured brains on a slab.'
Rapid Automated Search For Habitable Planets Needed
'I was near enough it now to set my automatic astronomical instruments to searching it for a habitable planet.'
WatchSense Perfect For Fat-Fingered Smartwatch Owners
'Now all you had to do was wave your hand in the general direction of the components...'
Digital Construction Platform Robot 3D Prints A Building
'It extrudes material like a spider.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories