A team at the RIKEN Advanced Science Institute in Wako has predicted that man-made structures called metamaterials could produce instabilities in electron beams (1). The effect could provide new methods for generating and amplifying optical signals.
Metamaterials are often known as left-handed media (LHM) because they break the right-hand rule of electromagnetism. This means that the ‘envelope’ of a wave—created by changes in wave height—in LHM can move in the opposite direction to the wave’s overall motion. This is expected to produce phenomena similar to backward wave oscillators, which are common sources of microwave radiation.
“Any system that contains two oppositely directed fluxes of information can be unstable if the coupling between the information carriers (waves and electrons in our case) is strong enough,” explains RIKEN scientist Yuriy Bliokh, also at Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa.
The coupling between carriers in LHM is provided by Cherenkov radiation—a type of radiation emitted when a charged particle passes through an insulator at a speed faster than the speed of light in the insulator. It is responsible for the blue glow in nuclear reactors, and propagates from a particle beam just like the wake from a moving ship.
In LHM, Cherenkov radiation moves backwards, providing strong feedback for particles moving behind. In particular, two electron beams side-by-side could excite each other via their Cherenkov radiation, producing unstable, chaotic motion in the beams.
To investigate these effects, Bliokh and RIKEN co-workers Sergey Savel’ev, also at Loughborough University, UK, and Franco Nori, also at the University of Michigan, USA, developed a model which solves the equations of motion for two electron beams passing through LHM, and calculates the total electric field generated. "Small perturbations in the beam density were introduced to represent fluctuations that can occur in the real world," says Savel'ev.
The small perturbations developed into large instabilities, causing the beam to excite itself. "The behavior resembles beam instabilities that have been discovered in both plasma physics and microwave electronics," says Nori, and could have several applications if a suitable LHM can be realized in the laboratory.
“From my point of view, the most interesting applications would be in the short-wavelength (infrared, visible light) range, because there are already so many devices in the microwave frequency band,” says Bliokh. “This effect could provide tunable sources of regular or stochastic radiation. Also, when the beam current is low, the instability is not developed and the system could be used as an amplifier.”
1. Bliokh, Y.P., Savel’ev, S. & Nori, F. Electron-beam instability in left-handed media. Physical Review Letters 100, 244803 (2008).
DGIST develops 20 times faster biosensor
24.04.2017 | DGIST (Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology)
New quantum liquid crystals may play role in future of computers
21.04.2017 | California Institute of Technology
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
24.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.04.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.04.2017 | Life Sciences