Optical technology plays an increasingly important role in numerous information system applications, including optical communications, storage, signal processing, biology, medicine, and sensing. As optical technology develops, there is a growing need to develop scalable and reliable photonic integration technologies. These include the development of passive and active optical components that can be integrated into functional optical circuits and systems, including filters, electrically or optically controlled switching fabrics, optical sources, detectors, amplifiers, etc. We explore the unique capabilities and advantages of nanotechnology in developing next generation integrated photonic information systems. Our approach includes design, modeling and simulations of selected components and devices, their nanofabrication, followed by validation via characterization and testing of the fabricated devices. The latter exploits our recently constructed near field complex amplitude imaging tool. The understanding of near field interactions in nanophotonic devices and systems is a crucial step as these interactions provide a variety of functionalities useful for optical systems integration. Furthermore, near-field optical devices facilitate miniaturization, and simultaneously enhance multifunctionality, greatly increasing the functional complexity per unit volume of the photonic system. Since the optical properties of near-field materials are controlled by the geometry, there is flexibility in the choice of constituent materials, facilitating the implementation of a wide range of devices using compatible materials for ease of fabrication and integration.