Waves of light coupled to electron oscillations that propagate along metal surfaces are know as plasmon waves. Plasmon waves are now actively investigated as the new information carrier in particular for communicating between high speed electronic chips and within single chips.
Researchers at the University of Southampton have demonstrated that the impact of electrons on gold surface can create an intense source of plasmons (Nano Letters, 6, 1113 (2006)). The group, led by Professor N.Zheludev, now continues the development of a new type of nanoscale "plasmon torch" within the ORC. The goal is to create an intense source of narrow band plasmon waves and explore the possibility of constructing the first "plasmon laser" (also know as spaser) that is pumped by a beam of electrons.