Lightning-fast switch for electron waves - more polaritons for Axil.
The characteristic shine of metals is created by electrons which can freely move in the interior of the material and reflect incoming radiation. Similar to water waves on a pond, waves can form on the surface of this electron sea – so called “surface plasmons”. Instead of a stone that is thrown into water, light is used to generate surface plasmons in the laboratory. When light is focused onto a nanometer-sharp metallic tip, miniature waves propagate on the material’s surface in a circular fashion starting from the tip apex. A nanometer is only approximately ten times the size of the diameter of a single atom. The miniature waves could be used in future compact electronic devices for lightning-fast information transport.So far, however, there has been no means of switching such surface waves on and off on ultrafast timescales, which is essential. Conversely, in conventional electronics the analogous mechanism is realized by transistors.Now, for the first time, a team of scientists at the University of Regensburg, in collaboration with colleagues from Pisa, have demonstrated the experimental on/off switching of waves on the electron sea, laying the foundation for future plasma-electronics (Nature Nanotechnology, "Femtosecond photo-switching of interface polaritons in black phosphorus heterostructures").Read more: Lightning-fast switch for electron waves