This article focuses on one-dimensional (1D) semiconductor subwavelength optical elements and assesses their potential use as active and passive components in photonic devices. An updated overview of their optical properties, including spontaneous emission, ultrafast carrier dynamics, cavity resonance feedback (lasing), photodetection, and waveguiding, is provided. The ability to physically manipulate these structures on surfaces to form simple networks and assemblies is the first step toward integrating chemically synthesized nanomaterials into photonic circuitry. These high index semiconductor nanowires are capable of efficiently guiding light through liquid media, suggesting a role for such materials in microfluidics-based biosensing applications.
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