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Penn Researchers Build First Physical "metatronic" Circuit

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University of Pennsylvania researchers have demonstrated "lumped" optical circuit elements, which they say represents a milestone in the field of metatronics.

The researchers are trying to advance electronic circuitry by replacing electricity with light. "If we moved to shorter wavelengths in the electromagnetic spectrum--like light--we could make things smaller, faster, and more efficient," says Pennsylvania professor Nader Engheta.

Lumped circuit elements can be treated as something that turns a given input to a predictable output without the engineer having to worry about what exactly is going on inside. Recent advances in nanotechnology have enabled lumped optical circuit elements, allowing for the creation of nanometer-sized structures. The researchers used cross-sections of nanorods and the gaps between them to form a pattern that replicates the function of resistors, inductors, and capacitors in optical wavelengths.

"If we have the optical version of those lumped elements in our repertoire, we can actually make designs similar to what we do in electronics but now for operation with light," Engheta says. "We can make an infinite number of circuits depending on how we arrange different circuit elements, just like we can arrange the alphabet into different words, sentences, and paragraphs."

From Penn News
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