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Caltech engineers invent light-focusing device

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December 11, 2012 in Business

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Engineers at Caltech have created a device (illustrated here) that can focus light into a point just a few nanometers (billionths of a meter) across — an achievement they say may lead to next-generation applications in computing, communications, and imaging. Credit: Young-Hee Lee

(Phys.org)—As technology advances, it tends to shrink. From cell phones to laptops—powered by increasingly faster and tinier processors—everything is getting thinner and sleeker. And now light beams are getting smaller, too.

Engineers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have created a device that can focus light into a point just a few nanometers (billionths of a meter) across—an achievement they say may lead to next-generation applications in computing, communications, and imaging.

[...]Because the new device can focus light down to such small scales, it can heat smaller magnets individually, making it possible for hard drives to pack more magnets and therefore more memory. With current technology, discs can’t hold more than 1 terabyte (1,000 gigabytes) per square inch.

A nanofocusing device, Choo says, can bump that to 50 terabytes per square inch. Then there’s the myriad of data-transfer and communication applications, the researchers say. As computing becomes increasingly reliant on optics, devices that concentrate and control data-carrying light at the nanoscale will be essential—and ubiquitous, says Choo, who is a member of the Kavli Nanoscience Institute at Caltech. “Don’t be surprised if you see a similar kind of device inside a computer you may someday buy.”

Read more at:http://phys.org


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