Smolyanivov, Davis, Zayats issued optical processing patent

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This schematic from the patent shows the layout of the system

ECE Associate Research Scientist Igor I. Smolyanivov; ISR-affiliated Professor Christopher Davis (ECE); and Anatoly Zayats, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Queens University Belfast; were issued US Patent 6,897,436 on May 24, 2005 for "System and method for optical processing based on light-controlled photon tunneling."

This patent is a system for optical processing based on light-controlled photon tunneling. The system includes a prism with a metallic film layer on its upper surface that has a microscopic aperture covered by a layer of non-linear optical film. A first light beam is projected towards aperture and photons from first light beam tunnel through aperture. A second light beam is also projected towards microscopic aperture. This beam has a different wavelength than the first beam. Selective actuation and modulation of the light beam allows for selective control over the rate and intensity of the photons which tunnel through microscopic aperture. The intensity of transmission of the photons from light beam are measured by optical fiber tip, thus allowing for the creation of optical gates, switches, and other optical processing devices.

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Published June 3, 2005