Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania have theorized a way to increase the speed of pulses of light that bound across chains of tiny metal particles to well past the speed of light by altering the particle shape. Under the theory, nanosized metal chains would serve as building blocks for high-frequency optoelectronic and optical devices in high-speed optical computing applications.
Recent nanotechnology developments have enabled researchers to fabricate nanoparticle chains with great precision and fidelity. Penn's research team capitalized on this technological advance by utilizing metallic nanoparticles as a chain of miniature waveguides that exchange light.
Currently, the advance is theoretical. But, from a practical standpoint, creating a metallic nanochain would provide the combination of smaller-diameter optical components coupled with larger bandwidth, making them optimal wave guiding materials.