Surface plasmons are waves that propagate along the surface of a conductor. By altering the structure of a metal's surface, the properties of surface plasmons—in particular their interaction with light—can be tailored, which offers the potential for developing new types of photonic device. This could lead to miniaturized photonic circuits with length scales that are much smaller than those currently achieved. Surface plasmons are being explored for their potential in subwavelength optics, data storage, light generation, microscopy and bio-photonics.
, vol. 424, no. 6950, pp. 824-830, 2003