Georgia State University, Center for Nano-Optics (CeNO), Department of Physics and Astronomy, Atlanta, Georgia, United States
A history and a glimpse into the future of spaser (acronym for “surface plasmon amplification by stimulated emission of radiation”) is provided. The spaser (also called a plasmonic nanolaser) is an active nanosystem including a gain medium and a nanoplasmonic metal core. It generates coherent intense nanolocalized fields. Theoretically predicted in 2003 by Bergman and Stockman, the spaser grew into a large fundamental research and application field with thousands of publications. We review a few of them to illustrate the most important and general fundamental properties of the spaser. We also review some selected applications of spasers, in particular, to ultrasensing and biomedical problems, concentrating on cancer-cell theranostics (therapeutics and diagnostics). In conclusion, we attempt to glimpse into the future by predicting that the next big development of the spasers will be topological nano-optics, and its “killer” application will be ultrafast, high-density on-chip communications for future information processing.