Chemical reaction alters the colors of plasmonic prints

The technique could open the way for ultra-high-resolution images, extremely sharp displays, encrypting information, and detecting counterfeits.

Plasmonic printing produces resolutions several times greater than conventional printing methods. In plasmonic printing, colors are formed on the surfaces of tiny metallic particles when light excites their electrons to oscillate. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart have now shown how the colors of such metallic particles can be altered with hydrogen. The technique could open the way for animating ultra-high-resolution images and for developing extremely sharp displays. At the same time, it provides new approaches for encrypting information and detecting counterfeits.

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Plasmonics is a fast-growing field with many implications for photonics. This article by Stefan Maier, codirector of the Centre for Plasmonics & Metamaterials at Imperial College London, presents the underlying concepts that have been exploited in various areas of optics for decades, and are now experiencing a renaissance in the form of nanoplasmonics.

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