Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Researchers find new source of coherent light


With the exception of lasers and free-electron lasers, there hasn’t been another fundamental way to produce coherent light for close to 50 years.

This figure shows the emission of coherent light at 22 THz from a molecular dynamics simulation of shocked NaCl (table salt). The left panel shows the emission of the light as a function of time while the shock is propagating. The right panel shows the generated radiation as a function of location within the shocked crystal indicating the 22 THz coherent signal is generated at the shock front (between the white dotted lines).

But a group of researchers from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have found a new source of coherent optical radiation that is distinct from lasers and free-electron lasers.

Applications for this research are numerous, but the most immediate result may be a new diagnostic tool to determine the properties of shock waves, said Evan Reed, an E.O. Lawrence postdoctoral fellow at Lawrence Livermore and lead author of a paper that appears in the Jan. 13 edition of Physical Review Letters.

Through a series of theoretical calculations and experimental simulations, scientists generated a mechanical shock wave inside a dielectric crystalline material, in this case kitchen salt (NaCl). One might expect to see only incoherent photons and sparks from the shocked crystal.

But what they found was so much more. Weak yet measurable coherent light was seen emerging from the crystal. The emission frequencies are determined by the shock speed and the lattice make-up of the crystal.

The team found that measurable coherent light can be observed emerging from the crystal in the range of 1 to 100 terahertz (THz).

“To our knowledge, coherent light never has been seen before from shock waves propagating through crystals because a shocked crystal is not an obvious source to look for coherent radiation,” Reed said. “The light and radiation was in a portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that is not usually observed in these types of experiments.”

Coherent light is very narrow bandwidth radiation; it is useful for interferometry (the measurement of two or more waves coming together at the same time and place, such as optical and shock waves) and is usually associated with lasers.

The invention of the laser in 1958 as a source of coherent light enabled a wide range of applications including medical technologies and energy production because of the coherence of the light they generate. However, producing coherent light from a source other than a laser can serve as a diagnostic for understanding shock waves, specifically providing information about shock speed and the degree of crystallinity, Reed said.

In the computational experiments, the researchers observed the light generated by a shocked polarized material by performing molecular dynamics simulations of shock waves propagating through crystalline NaCl. The simulations solved the classical equations of motion for atoms that are subject to interaction, thermal effects and deformation of the crystal lattice. The intensive computer simulations were made possible by utilizing LLNL’s Thunder parallel computer.

Other Livermore authors include Richard Gee of LLNL’s Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Division.

LLNL’s Laboratory Directed Research and Development program is funding an experiment to observe coherent radiation in the laboratory. Reed, Michael Armstrong (a Chemistry and Materials Science postdoctoral researcher) and researchers from Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) will collaborate on the project, which will be conducted at LANL experimental facilities.

Founded in 1952, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has a mission to ensure national security and apply science and technology to the important issues of our time. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is managed by the University of California for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.

Anne Stark | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Move over, lasers: Scientists can now create holograms from neutrons, too
21.10.2016 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

nachricht Finding the lightest superdeformed triaxial atomic nucleus
20.10.2016 | The Henryk Niewodniczanski Institute of Nuclear Physics Polish Academy of Sciences

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>