The field of plasmonics involves surface plasmons that are generated when photons hit a metal surface, and has been much talked about in regards to revolutionary photonic circuits. Researchers from ICFO (Barcelona), in a collaboration with CIC nanoGUNE (San Sebastian), and CNR/Scuola Normale Superiore (Pisa) and Columbia University (New York) claim to have solved one of the major problem in relation to plasmons - the rapid loss of energy that the plasmons experience, limiting the range over which they could travel.

The researchers found that a graphene-boron nitride system is an excellent host for confined light and suppression of plasmon losses (when graphene is encapsulated in boron nitride, electrons can move ballistically for long distances without scattering, even at room temperature).

The scientists explain that it might now be possible to "squeeze light and at the same time make it propagate over significant distances through nanoscale materials. In the future, low-loss graphene plasmons could make signal processing and computing much faster, and optical sensing more efficient.”

These finding could be significant for future miniaturized optical circuits and devices that could be useful for optical and/or biological sensing, information processing or data communications.