HOUSTON - (Nov. 29, 2018) - Rice University researchers have discovered a fundamentally different form of light-matter interaction in their experiments with gold nanoparticles.

They weren't looking for it, but students in the lab of Rice chemist Stephan Link found that exciting the microscopic particles just right produced a near-perfect modulation of the light they scatter.

The discovery may become useful in the development of next-generation, ultrasmall optical components for computers and antennas.

A paper about the research appears in the American Chemical Society journal ACS Nano.

Plasmons are quasiparticles, collective excitations that move in waves on the surface of some metals when excited by light.

The Rice researchers were studying pinwheel-like plasmonic structures of C-shaped gold nanoparticles to see how they responded to circularly polarized light and its rotating electric field, especially when the handedness, or the direction of rotation of the polarization, was reversed.

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