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This paper reviews progress in nanophotonics, a novel optical nanotechnology, utilizing local electromagnetic interactions between a few nanometric elements and an optical near field. A prototype of a nanophotonic integrated circuit (IC) is presented, in which the optical near field is used as a carrier to transmit a signal from one nanometric dot to another. Each section of this paper reviews theoretical and experimental studies carried out to assess the possibility of designing, fabricating, and operating each nanophotonic IC device. A key device, the nanophotonic switch, is proposed based on optical near-field energy transfer between quantum dots (QDs). The optical near-field interaction is expressed as the sum of the Yukawa function, and the oscillation period of the nutation of cubic CuCl QDs is estimated to be less than 100 ps. To guarantee one-directional (i.e., irreversible) energy transfer between two resonant levels of QDs, intrasublevel transitions due to phonon coupling are examined by considering a simple two-QD plus phonon heat bath system. As a result, the state-filling time is estimated as 22 ps for CuCl QDs. This time is almost independent of the temperature in the Born-Markov approximation. Using cubic CuCl QDs in a NaCl matrix as a test sample, the optical near-field energy transfer was experimentally verified by near-field optical spectroscopy with a spatial resolution smaller than 50 nm in the near-UV region at 15 K. This transfer occurs from the lowest state of excitons in 4.6-nm QDs to the first dipole-forbidden excited state of excitons in 6.3-nm QDs. To fabricate nanophotonic devices and ICs, chemical vapor deposition using an optical near field is proposed; this is sufficiently precise in controlling the size and position of the deposited material. A novel deposition scheme under nonresonant conditions is also demonstrated and its origin is discussed. In order to confirm the possibility of using a nanometric ZnO dot as a light emitter in a nanophotonic IC, spatially and spectrally resolved photoluminescence imaging of individual ZnO nanocrystallites was carried out with a spatial resolution as high as 55 nm, using a UV fiber probe, and the spectral shift due to the quantum size effect was found. To connect the nanophotonic IC- to external photonic devices, a nanometer-scale waveguide was developed using a metal-coated silicon wedge structure. Illumination (wavelength: 830 nm) of the metal-coated silicon wedge (width: 150 nm) excites a TM plasmon mode with a beam width of 150 nm and propagation length of 2.5 μm. A key device for nanophotonics, an optical near-field probe with an extremely high throughput, was developed by introducing a pyramidal silicon structure with localized surface plasmon resonance at the metallized probe tip. A throughput as high as 2.3% was achieved. Finally, as an application of nanophotonics to, a high-density, high-speed optical memory system, a novel contact slider with a pyramidal silicon probe array was developed. This slider was used for phase-change recording and reading, and a mark length as short as 110 nm was demonstrated.