October 22, 2008: The development of concepts, technologies and devices in nanophotonics during the next few years is envisaged in Emerging Nanophotonics Roadmap [PDF document]. This document, released within the framework of the Photonics21 strategic research agenda, has been promoted by the EU Network of Excellence on nanophotonics (PhOREMOST), composed by 34 partners and over 300 researchers. Prof. Gonçal Badenes, group leader at ICFO/The Institute of Photonic Sciences (Barcelona, Spain), is the chairman of the taskforce that produced this first attempt to map the rapidly evolving field of nanophotonics.
Nanophotonics harvest new functions and properties of nanostructures and sub-wavelength phenomena, with applications in information and communication technologies, environment, transport, security, life sciences, etc. The nanometer and molecular scale of materials involved offers advantages like a higher integration and the expectation of less electrical noise. The roadmap is intended to complement other similar documents and to be a living publication that gets updated and revised regularly. All the topics included in the roadmap have a high potential impact.
In the Concepts section of the roadmap themes are treated such as microcavitites, plasmonics, non-linear optical effects in nanostructures, optical trapping and sorting, metamaterials and random lasers. The Technologies section deals with self-assembly of colloidal structures, nanoimprint lithography as well as functionalization, infiltration methods and organic-inorganic hybridization. A final section on Devices addresses nanophotonic developments of photovoltaics, components for the automobile industry, hybrid waveguides and amplifiers as well as plasmonics-based sensors.
This figure provides an indication of the maturity of technologies in the field. For example, in the case of visible range metamaterials, much of the concept development research has already been done while the technological challenges remain formidable, suggesting that much technology development in this field is needed.