A researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, has exhibited the world's smallest semiconductor laser.
Dr Xiang Zhang, who is funded by the Air Force Office (AFO) and National Science Foundation, demonstrated how the plasmon can focus light the size of a protein in a space that is smaller than half its wavelength.
The product does not dissipate over time and it has been suggested that the AFO may be able to use the item in bio-hazard detection, computing and communications.
Mr Zhang explained how his team developed the laser design by combining semiconductor nanowires one thousand times thinner than a human hair on a metal surface with only a five nanometer insulating gap.
He added: "It is an important discovery because it has the potential to eliminate optical loss and make plasmonic-based technologies viable for a broad spectrum of applications."
This week, the Semiconductor Research Corporation released the first top-gated field effect transistor to use diblock copolymer lithography, with 20 nm contact holes.