Electronic circuits provide us with the ability to control the transport and storage of electrons. However, the performance of electronic circuits is now becoming rather limited when digital information needs to be sent from one point to another. Photonics offers an effective solution to this problem by implementing optical communication systems based on optical fibers and photonic circuits. Unfortunately, the micrometer-scale bulky components of photonics have limited the integration of these components into electronic chips, which are now measured in nanometers. Surface plasmon-based circuits, which merge electronics and photonics at the nanoscale, may offer a solution to this size-compatibility problem. Here we review the current status and future prospects of plasmonics in various applications including plasmonic chips, light generation, and nanolithography.
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