Caltech invention focuses light like never before, could bolster nextgen communication platforms

Light. What is it? What isn't it? Such are the questions left to the experts at Caltech, which have just concocted a new device that can focus light to a point just a few nanometers wide. That kind of precision has never been done at scale, and the university is hoping that the invention could help "pave the way for the next-generation of communication, computing, and even imaging technology."

In lay terms, it could allow increased bandwidth for fiber optics, and since it's built on-chip, integration with existing doodads shouldn't be too much of a hassle. Previous on-chip nanofocusing devices were only able to focus light into a narrow line, making them inefficient, whereas Caltech's contraption can be focused in three dimensions, producing a point a few nanometers across, and using half of the light that's sent through. Hyuck Choo seems to think that it can be put to use in short order in the medical field, but it remains to be seen if we'll see this in the next wave of Google Fiber rollouts. But hey, a lowly DSL user can hope, right?

The Daily Roundup for 12.08.2012