Living Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Nanotechnology

pp 1-13

Date: View Latest Version

Harnessing Disorder at the Nanoscale

  • Juan Sebastian Totero GongoraAffiliated withPRIMALIGHT, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)
  • , Andrea FratalocchiAffiliated withPRIMALIGHT, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) Email author 


Anderson localization; Coupled mode theory; Disordered plasmonics; Dissipative cavity; Product of random matrices; Random matrix theory


In nanotechnology, any fabrication process naturally introduces disorder and randomness at the nanoscale. Disorder is typically unwanted in applications, as it is associated with unpredictable degrees of freedom that are difficult to control. However, it can be demonstrated that disorder supports fascinating and counterintuitive phenomena, which can be harnessed at the nanoscale for the realization of specific functionalities.


It is a common perception that the presence of disorder influences negatively the properties of a physical system. Nevertheless, there are several cases in which disorder plays a positive role and can be exploited to develop novel applications. In general, the introduction of disorder significantly increases the complexity of the system under examination, but, as is often seen in nature, an increase in ...

This is an excerpt from the content