Table of contents



Celebrating the arXiv p1




The behaviour of exciton–polaritons p2

L. V. Butov & A. V. Kavokin



Books and Arts

New titles at a glance p3

Broadband Optical Modulators by Antao Chen & Edmond J. Murphy



News and Views

Dissipative polariton solitons: Proof of existence pp6 - 7

Nikolay N. Rosanov


Nanophotonics: Remote on-chip coupling pp7 - 8

Jie Gao, James F. McMillan & Chee Wei Wong


Light sources: Shaking quantum dots pp9 - 10

Masahiro Nomura & Yasuhiko Arakawa


Quantum memory: Phonons in diamond crystals pp10 - 12

Charles Santori & Raymond G. Beausoleil


See also: Letter by Lee et al.

Sensing: Giant laser gyroscope detects Earth's wobble p12

Oliver Graydon


Business: Thailand floods disrupt photonics pp13 - 14

Neil Savage


View from... OSA Frontiers in Optics 2011: How many bits can a photon carry? pp14 - 15

David Pile




Surface plasmon–polariton amplifiers and lasers pp16 - 24

Pierre Berini & Israel De Leon


This Review provides an introduction to the compensation of loss and amplification of surface plasmons in waveguides and resonators. Future challenges, including how to overcome the large losses present in plasmonic systems that offer strong electromagnetic confinement, are also discussed.

See also: Letter by Brüggemann et al.



Nanoscale spectroscopy with polarized X-rays by NEXAFS-TXM pp25 - 29

Peter Guttmann, Carla Bittencourt, Stefan Rehbein, Polona Umek, Xiaoxing Ke, Gustaaf Van Tendeloo, Chris P. Ewels & Gerd Schneider


Researchers demonstrate a scheme that combines the high spatial resolution of full-field transmission X-ray microscopy (TXM) with high-spectral-resolution near-edge X-ray absorption fine structure (NEXAFS). The idea could lead to a wide range of new material studies that combine high-resolution spectroscopic techniques with nanoscale tomographic imaging.

Subject terms: Imaging and sensing | Spectroscopy | Nanophotonics | X-rays

Laser mode feeding by shaking quantum dots in a planar microcavity pp30 - 34

C. Brüggemann, A. V. Akimov, A. V. Scherbakov, M. Bombeck, C. Schneider, S. Höfling, A. Forchel, D. R. Yakovlev & M. Bayer


Researchers use femtosecond laser pulses to create acoustic pulses that strain quantum dots and modulate their transition energies. When the quantum dots are housed in a microcavity, tuning the quantum dots to the optical resonance of the cavity causes the emission output to be enhanced by more than two orders of magnitude.

Subject terms: Lasers, LEDs and light sources | Ultrafast photonics

See also: Research Highlights by Horiuchi

Self-terminating diffraction gates femtosecond X-ray nanocrystallography measurements pp35 - 40

Anton Barty, Carl Caleman, Andrew Aquila, Nicusor Timneanu, Lukas Lomb, Thomas A. White, Jakob Andreasson, David Arnlund, Saša Bajt, Thomas R. M. Barends, Miriam Barthelmess, Michael J. Bogan, Christoph Bostedt, John D. Bozek, Ryan Coffee, Nicola Coppola, Jan Davidsson, Daniel P. DePonte, R. Bruce Doak, Tomas Ekeberg, Veit Elser, Sascha W. Epp, Benjamin Erk, Holger Fleckenstein, Lutz Foucar, Petra Fromme, Heinz Graafsma, Lars Gumprecht, Janos Hajdu, Christina Y. Hampton, Robert Hartmann, Andreas Hartmann, Günter Hauser, Helmut Hirsemann, Peter Holl, Mark S. Hunter, Linda Johansson, Stephan Kassemeyer, Nils Kimmel, Richard A. Kirian, Mengning Liang, Filipe R. N. C. Maia, Erik Malmerberg, Stefano Marchesini, Andrew V. Martin, Karol Nass, Richard Neutze, Christian Reich, Daniel Rolles, Benedikt Rudek, Artem Rudenko, Howard Scott, Ilme Schlichting, Joachim Schulz, M. Marvin Seibert, Robert L. Shoeman, Raymond G. Sierra, Heike Soltau, John C. H. Spence, Francesco Stellato, Stephan Stern, Lothar Strüder, Joachim Ullrich, X. Wang, Georg Weidenspointner, Uwe Weierstall, Cornelia B. Wunderer & Henry N. Chapman


Researchers describe a mechanism capable of compressing fast and intense X-ray pulses through the rapid loss of crystalline periodicity. It is hoped that this concept, combined with X-ray free-electron laser technology, will allow scientists to obtain structural information at atomic resolutions.

Subject terms: X-rays | Nanophotonics

Macroscopic non-classical states and terahertz quantum processing in room-temperature diamond pp41 - 44

K. C. Lee, B. J. Sussman, M. R. Sprague, P. Michelberger, K. F. Reim, J. Nunn, N. K. Langford, P. J. Bustard, D. Jaksch & I. A. Walmsley


Researchers investigate the optical phonon modes of bulk diamond at room temperature. Ultrafast Raman scattering measurements show an extended and highly non-classical state in the optical phonon modes of bulk diamond. The researchers also demonstrate a terahertz-bandwidth quantum memory based on transient ultrafast Raman scattering from the optical phonons.

Subject terms: Quantum optics | Optical data storage | Ultrafast photonics

See also: News and Views by Santori & Beausoleil



Generating, manipulating and measuring entanglement and mixture with a reconfigurable photonic circuit pp45 - 49

P. J. Shadbolt, M. R. Verde, A. Peruzzo, A. Politi, A. Laing, M. Lobino, J. C. F. Matthews, M. G. Thompson & J. L. O'Brien


Researchers demonstrate a reconfigurable integrated quantum photonic circuit. The device comprises a two-qubit entangling gate, several Hadamard-like gates and eight variable phase shifters. The set-up is used to generate entangled states, violate a Bell-type inequality with a continuum of partially entangled states and demonstrate the generation of arbitrary one-qubit mixed states.

Subject term: Quantum optics

Observation of bright polariton solitons in a semiconductor microcavity pp50 - 55

M. Sich, D. N. Krizhanovskii, M. S. Skolnick, A. V. Gorbach, R. Hartley, D. V. Skryabin, E. A. Cerda-Méndez, K. Biermann, R. Hey & P. V. Santos


Scientists present the first experimental observations of bright polariton solitons in a strongly coupled semiconductor microcavity. The findings should pave the way to the investigation of a variety of fundamental phenomena, such as interactions between solitons with different spins and the formation of soliton molecules.

Subject term: Nonlinear optics

See also: News and Views by Rosanov

Strong coupling between distant photonic nanocavities and its dynamic control pp56 - 61

Yoshiya Sato, Yoshinori Tanaka, Jeremy Upham, Yasushi Takahashi, Takashi Asano & Susumu Noda


Scientists demonstrate strong coupling between distant nanocavities separated by more than 100 wavelengths as well as dynamic control over the coupling state. The strong coupling state can be stopped on demand by irradiating one of the nanocavities with a control pulse, thus freezing the photon state.

Subject terms: Fundamental optical physics | Nanophotonics

See also: News and Views by Gao et al.

A photon-driven micromotor can direct nerve fibre growth pp62 - 67

Tao Wu, Timo A. Nieminen, Samarendra Mohanty, Jill Miotke, Ronald L. Meyer, Halina Rubinsztein-Dunlop & Michael W. Berns


Using laser-driven spinning birefringent spheres to create a localized microfluidic flow, scientists show that they can control the direction of growth of individual nerve fibres. The approach is potentially useful for the development of nerve systems, as well as for nerve repair and regeneration.

Subject term: Biophotonics



Optical guidance p68

Interview with Michael Berns