Table of contents


In This Issue

This issue pv




It's good to get out p325


Although the expense involved and pressures of time sometimes make visiting conferences difficult, the benefits are often highly worthwhile.



Spasers explained pp327 - 329

Mark I. Stockman


The spaser is a proposed nanoscale source of optical fields that is being investigated in a number of leading laboratories around the world. If realized, spasers could find a wide range of applications, including nanoscale lithography, probing and microscopy.


Research Highlights


News and Views

Plasmonics: Finer optical tweezers pp333 - 334

Peter J. Reece


The use of nanostructured gold substrates is now allowing optical tweezers to exploit plasmonics and confine nanoparticles to ever smaller dimensions.

Solitons: Self-trapping of speckled light beams pp334 - 335

Antonio Picozzi


A speckle beam of light breaks up into small fragments as it propagates in a standard self-focusing nonlinear material. Now, by exploiting the non-local thermal response of a material, it is possible to trap a speckle beam in a self-induced waveguide.

Nanophotonics: Grating games pp335 - 337

Harald Giessen


Diffraction gratings have a long history, but researchers in Sweden have now come up with a new method for producing one- and two-dimensional grating patterns. The approach could be useful for fabricating complicated nanostructures and optical devices.

Optical quantum circuits: To the quantum level p337

David Gevaux


View from...FOM 2008: Beyond the limit pp338 - 339

Rachel Won


Beating the diffraction limit of light is not a simple task. However, as reported at the recent Focus on Microscopy conference in Japan, solutions are being found.

High-harmonic generation: Observing quantum interference p339

Oliver Graydon




Ceramic future p340

Rachel Won


Antenna-enhanced detectors p340




Carbon-nanotube photonics and optoelectronics pp341 - 350

Phaedon Avouris, Marcus Freitag & Vasili Perebeinos


Carbon nanotubes possess unique properties that make them potentially useful in many applications in optoelectronics. This review describes the fundamental optical behaviour of carbon nanotubes as well as their opportunities for light generation and detection, and photovoltaic energy generation.



Lasing spaser pp351 - 354

N. I. Zheludev, S. L. Prosvirnin, N. Papasimakis & V. A. Fedotov


The 'spaser' (surface plasmon amplification by stimulated emission of radiation) is a relatively new and exciting concept analogous to the laser. It involves amplifying specific surface plasmon modes using a nanoscale device. Zheludev and co-workers extend this concept by suggesting that metamaterials could be used to create a lasing spaser, that is, a spaser that can emit light with high spatial coherence.

Subject Categories: Plasmonics | Novel materials and engineered structures | Nanophotonics

Optical frequency comb with submillihertz linewidth and more than 10 W average power pp355 - 359

T. R. Schibli, I. Hartl, D. C. Yost, M. J. Martin, A. Marcinkevic caronius, M. E. Fermann & J. Ye


Mode–locked fibre lasers enable high–power yet very stable optical frequency combs, paving the way towards higher resolution spectroscopy. The power scalability of such fibre–based systems opens the possibility of frequency combs operating with average powers in excess of 10 kW.

Subject Categories: Nonlinear optics | Ultrafast photonics

Grating formation by metal-nanoparticle-mediated coupling of light into waveguided modes pp360 - 364

L. Eurenius, C. Hägglund, E. Olsson, B. Kasemo & D. Chakarov


We report the experimental observation of one- and two-dimensional grating patterns formed in a disordered metal-nanoparticle layer by a single light pulse. The phenomenon is attributed to interference effects between the incident light and waveguided modes. Such self-patterning behaviour could be useful for the fabrication of complex nanostructures and advanced photonic devices.

Subject Categories: Fundamental optical physics | Plasmonics | Nanophotonics

See also: News and Views by Giessen



Nanometric optical tweezers based on nanostructured substrates pp365 - 370

A. N. Grigorenko, N. W. Roberts, M. R. Dickinson & Y. Zhang


Optical tweezers are well known for being able to control and move microscopic objects with high precision using focused laser beams. Alexander Grigorenko and colleagues report three-dimensional tweezers based on coupled pairs of gold nanodots in standard tweezer set-ups, which offer improved trapping efficiencies and reduced trapping volumes. Their tweezers could pave the way to improved manipulation of fragile, tiny biological objects.

Subject Categories: Nanophotonics | Plasmonics

See also: News and Views by Reece

Incoherent spatial solitons in effectively instantaneous nonlinear media pp371 - 376

Carmel Rotschild, Tal Schwartz, Oren Cohen & Mordechai Segev


Incoherent optical spatial solitons are self-trapped beams with a multimodal structure that varies randomly in time. All incoherent solitons observed so far have been supported by nonlinearities with slow response times. Here, Segev and colleagues demonstrate such solitons in nonlinear media with fast (essentially instantaneous) response times and show that new physical features appear.

Subject Categories: Fundamental optical physics | Nonlinear optics

See also: News and Views by Picozzi



Superconducting nanowire photon-number-resolving detector at telecommunication wavelengths p377

Aleksander Divochiy, Francesco Marsili, David Bitauld, Alessandro Gaggero, Roberto Leoni, Francesco Mattioli, Alexander Korneev, Vitaliy Seleznev, Nataliya Kaurova, Olga Minaeva, Gregory Gol'tsman, Konstantinos G. Lagoudakis, Moushab Benkhaoul, Francis Lévy & Andrea Fiore



Product Focus

Nonlinear crystals pp380 - 381

Neil Savage


Optical crystals with a strong nonlinear response to light are important tools in photonics, enabling applications ranging from wavelength conversion to short-pulse generation. Neil Savage surveys some of the materials on offer and their uses.



Mind the trap p382

Interview with Alexander Grigorenko


Trapping objects using light is a well-known technique. But designing traps that are subwavelength in size is a less well-explored avenue. Nature Photonics spoke to Alexander Grigorenko about the potential benefits.


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