The researchers say the results of their latest proof-of-concept experiments could lead to the replacement of electrical components with those based on optical technologies. Light-based devices would enable faster and more efficient transmission of information, much in the same way that replacing wires with optical fibers revolutionized the telecommunications industry.
The breakthrough revolves around a novel man-made structure known as a metamaterial. These exotic composite materials are not so much a single substance, but an entire structure that can be engineered to exhibit properties not readily found in nature. The structure used in these experiments resembles a miniature set of tan Venetian blinds.
When light passes through a material, even though it may be reflected, refracted or weakened along the way, it is still the same light coming out. This is known as linearity.
"For highly intense light, however, certain 'nonlinear' materials violate this rule of thumb, converting the incoming energy into a brand new beam of light at twice the original frequency, called the second-harmonic," said Alec Rose, graduate student in the laboratory of David R. Smith, William Bevan Professor of electrical and computer engineering at Duke's Pratt School of Engineering.As an example, he cited the crystal in some laser pointers, which transforms the normal laser light into another beam of a different color, which would be the second-harmonic. Though they contain nonlinear properties, designing such devices requires a great deal of time and effort to be able to control the direction of the second harmonic, and natural nonlinear materials are quite weak, Rose said.
The research results were published online in the journal Physical Review Letters. It was supported by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. Smith's team was the first to demonstrate that similar metamaterials could act as a cloaking device in 2006 and a next generation lens in 2009.
"This magnitude of control over light is unique to nonlinear metamaterials, and can have important consequences in all-optical communications, where the ability to manipulate light is crucial," Rose said.
The device, which measures six inches by eight inches and about an inch high, is made of individual pieces of the same fiberglass material used in circuit boards arranged in parallel rows. Each piece is etched with copper circles. Each copper circle has a tiny gap that is spanned by a diode, which when excited by light passing through it, breaks its natural symmetry, creating non-linearity.
"The trend in telecommunications is definitely optical," Rose said. "To be able to control light in the same manner that electronics control currents will be an important step in transforming telecommunications technologies."
Duke graduate student Da Huang was also a member of the team.
Richard Merritt | EurekAlert!
Supersonic waves may help electronics beat the heat
18.05.2018 | DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Researchers control the properties of graphene transistors using pressure
17.05.2018 | Columbia University
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...
A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.
The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...
Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich, the Technical University Eindhoven and the Charité Berlin have successfully implanted regenerative heart valves, designed with the aid of computer simulations, into sheep for the first time.
Producing living tissue or organs based on human cells is one of the main research fields in regenerative medicine. Tissue engineering, which involves growing...
A team of scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg investigated optically-induced superconductivity in the alkali-doped fulleride K3C60under high external pressures. This study allowed, on one hand, to uniquely assess the nature of the transient state as a superconducting phase. In addition, it unveiled the possibility to induce superconductivity in K3C60 at temperatures far above the -170 degrees Celsius hypothesized previously, and rather all the way to room temperature. The paper by Cantaluppi et al has been published in Nature Physics.
Unlike ordinary metals, superconductors have the unique capability of transporting electrical currents without any loss. Nowadays, their technological...
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
18.05.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
18.05.2018 | Information Technology
18.05.2018 | Information Technology