Editor's Summary

28 June 2007

Down to the Nanowire


Nanophotonics, dealing with the properties of light on a nanometre scale, could revolutionize the fields of telecommunications, computing and sensing. A newly developed nanowire frequency-tuneable light source described in this issue could contribute to the advance of nanophotonics, especially in bio-imaging applications, as it can function in physiological conditions and ensures a minimum of damage to the sample. Made from an inorganic material (potassium niobate) with nonlinear optical properties (so that it can convert light from one frequency to another), the light source was held steady with optical tweezers, then scanned over a test sample. The resulting images reveal the sample structure with subwavelength resolution. As well as bio-imaging, this methodology may also find use in advanced information technology, cryptography and signal processing circuits. The cover graphic illustrates a trapped nanowire scanning over dye-loaded microbeads in a liquid environment.

LetterTunable nanowire nonlinear optical probe

Yuri Nakayama, Peter J. Pauzauskie, Aleksandra Radenovic, Robert M. Onorato, Richard J. Saykally, Jan Liphardt & Peidong Yang

doi:10.1038/nature05921