The most immediate practical application for plasmonics is in electronics. Engineers have long sought to harness light for computational purposes, but photons are much harder to work with than electrons are. New materials make it easier. Nader Engheta of the University of Pennsylvania and his colleagues have proposed a standardized set of plasmonic components akin to resistors, capacitors and inductors, which could let engineers build circuits using light rather than electricity. Much as sandwiching an electrical insulator between two conductors creates an electrical capacitor, putting a nonplasmonic material (such as a nanometer-size glass bead) in a light beam creates an optical capacitor. A plasmonic material (a metal) acts as an inductor. These devices allow engineers to wire up optical "circuits" like electronic ones. The "current" that flows around the circuit is not the motion of electric charges, but fluctuations in the electric field associated with the light. One day soon, the fantastic world of plasmonics may be hanging from the rack at Radio Shack.--George Musser
Nader Engheta is the H. Nedwill Ramsey Professor of Electrical and Systems Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania. He received the BS degree in electrical engineering from the University of Tehran, the MS degree in electrical engineering and the Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering (with additional studies in physics) both from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). After spending one year as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Caltech and four years as a Senior Research Scientist at Kaman Sciences Corporation, he joined the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania, where he rose through the ranks and is currently H. Nedwill Ramsey Professor of Electrical and Systems Engineering. He is also a member of the Mahoney Institute of Neurological Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania, and holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Bioengineering at University of Pennsylvania. He was the graduate group chair of electrical engineering from July 1993 to June 1997.
A Guggenheim Fellow, an IEEE Third Millennium Medalist, a Fellow of IEEE, and a Fellow of the Optical Society of America, he has received various awards and distinctions for his scholarly research contributions and teaching activities including the UPS Foundation Distinguished Educator term Chair for July 1999-June 2000, the Fulbright Naples Chair award for Naples, Italy for 1998, a 1989 NSF Presidential Young Investigator (PYI) award, two times (1993, 2002) recipient of the S. Reid Warren, Jr. Award for distinguished teaching from UPenn's School of Engineering and Applied Science, the 1994 Christian F. and Mary R. Lindback Foundation Award, and the W. M. Keck Foundation's 1995 Engineering Teaching Excellence Award. He was a Kilby Plenary Lecturer at the 2006 Goverment Microcircuit Applications and Critical Technology Conference (GOMACTech 2006).
He is an Associate Editor of The IEEE Antennas and Wireless Propagation Letters (2002-present), and was an Associate Editor for the IEEE Transactions on Antenna and Propagation (1996-2001), and Radio Science (1991-1996). He was on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Electromagnetic Waves and Applications. He was an IEEE Antennas and Propagation Society Distinguished Lecturer during the period 1997-1999. He is a member of the American Physical Society (APS), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Sigma Xi, Commissions B, D, and K of the U.S. National Committee (USNC) of the International Union of Radio Science (URSI), and a member of the Electromagnetics Academy. He was the Chair (1989-91) and Vice-Chair (1988-89) of the joint chapter of the IEEE Antennas and Propagation / Microwave Theory and Techniques in the Philadelphia Section. He was an elected member of the Administrative Committee (AdCom) of the IEEE Society of Antennas and Propagation from January 2003 till December 2005. He is a member-at-large of the USNC-URSI since January 2005, and Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect of Commission B of USNC from January 2006 till December 2008.
He has published over 300 journal papers, book chapters, and conference articles. He has organized and chaired various special sessions in international symposia and conferences, and has guest edited/co-edited several special issues, namely, the special issue of Journal of Electromagnetic Waves and Applications on the topic of "Wave Interaction with Chiral and Complex Media" in 1992, part special issue of the Journal of the Franklin Institute on the topic of "Antennas and Microwaves (from the 13th Annual Benjamin Franklin Symposium) in 1995, special issue of the Wave Motion on the topic of "Electrodynamics in Complex Environments" (with L. B. Felsen) in 2001, and special issue of the IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation on the topic of "Metamaterials" (with R. W. Ziolkowski) in 2003. He has co-edited the book "Metamaterials: Engineering and Physics Explorations", IEEE Press, Wiley Publisher, in press (tent. May 2006).
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