Plasmonics is the name given (in 2000) to a discipline for exploiting the resonant interaction obtained under certain conditions between electromagnetic radiation (light in particular) and free electrons at the interface between a metal and a dielectric material (e.g. air or glass). This interaction generates electron density waves called plasmons or surface plasmons.
Many potential applications are being claimed for plasmonics. By providing a new way of controlling light behaviour it could improve the resolution of microscopes or increase the efficiency of light emitting diodes. In electronics it could lead to effective devices for coupling optical and electrical signals (in the field of opto-electronics).
In May 2007 a team from the Canadian university of Alberta (Abdulhakem Elezzabi, K. J. Chau and Mark Johnson) created a plasmonic device controlled by a spintronics system (which uses the transmission of electron spin).