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."

Via Harvard.

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 |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Communications ")

FCC Asks For Feedback On Repeal Of Net Neutrality
'... the machines had been instructed to give them low priority.' - John Brunner, 1975

Researchers Make You Say Anything in Videos
'[It] caused his televised image... to mouth the vowels and consonants beautifully.' - Ray Bradbury, 1953.

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.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Prototype Robotic Masseur Has The Touch
'The automatic massager began to fumble gently...'

Trash Sorting AI Robot Presages Skynet, Thanks A Lot
Keep your head down, Kyle Reese.

Electric Unicycle Is A Tumblebug
'A tumblebug does not give a man dignity, since it is about the size and shape of a kitchen stool, gyro-stabilized on a single wheel.'

Another Soil Bacterium Eats Plastic
'...the plastic was dissolved before his eyes.'

reLive Memorial Come Back As A Tree
'It was time - time to go again. She touched the leaf. She was wanted.'

Engineered Living Building Materials
'... it was the cheapest building material known.'

Draw Circuits With Conductive Ink
'It's rewiring things... squeezing silver toothpaste in a ribbon along the printed circuitry.'

Arkangel: Automatic Visual Censoring
It's whatever the Party says it is, Winston.

NASA Competition To Design A Bucket Drum For Moon Mining
'There was a heap of discarded ore where Grantline had carted and dumped it...'

Medical Assistant Robot May Roam The Halls Of Hospitals
'Take care, sir.'

No Autonomous Trucks? Wait, What?
'...it resembled conventional human-operated transportation vehicles, but with one exception -- there was no driver's cabin.'

As Big As A Biltong - World's Largest 3D Printer
'Huge and old, it squatted in the center of the settlement park... On the concrete platform... lay a heap of originals to be duplicated.'

Drones Used To Smuggle Contraband Into Prison
'And some mega chip inside so it never runs into anything and no cop ever sees it.'

Are You Ready For Commercial Space Travel?
'It wasn't a pleasant trip; it was a miserable trip on a miserable, undersized tourist rocket...'

Amplified Nerves Lead To Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Hands
'The electrical impulses generated by your brain command everything...'

FlyCroTug Micro Drones Do Heavy Lifting
'It extended three of its tiny arms sideways to lock on...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.