Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists Develop First Photonic Topological Insulators to Provide Protection for Transport of Light

11.04.2013
Researchers at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology have developed and successfully demonstrated a photonic topological insulator, a new device used to protect the transport of light through a unique, lattice of ‘waveguides’ The advancement may play a key role in the photonics industry. A description of the advancement was published in the current issue of NATURE (April 11, 2013).

The photonics industry is at the heart of modern computing and communication. It has allowed vast amounts of data to be transmitted extremely quickly over fiber optic lines that cross the oceans. Photonic technology (i.e., technology that is based on the flow and control of light) is at the heart of DVDs, fabrication of computer chips, and solar cells.

As computers get faster and computer chips get denser, there is a need for smaller and smaller devices that manipulate light. But when devices get smaller, imperfections in the fabrication processes can play a large role, making light move irregularly and unpredictably. In other words, there’s a need for a new methodology to prevent unwanted scattering from any kind of defect.

Researchers at group of Prof. Mordechai (Moti) Segev at the Technion, in collaboration with the group of Prof. Alex Szameit at the Friedrich-Schiller University in Jena, Germany, have done exactly that. Using a lattice-work of ‘waveguides’ (which are like wires that guide light instead of electricity), the researchers have experimentally demonstrated a ‘photonic topological insulator.’ The researchers used an array of helical ‘waveguides’ (shaped like curly hairs) arranged in a ‘honeycomb’ lattice structure, similar to the pattern observed in beehives. In such a structure, where each waveguide is thinner than a tenth of a human hair, light is ‘topologically protected,’ which means it flows uninterrupted despite the presence of defects.

According to Segev, “topological protection means that light simply flows around imperfections essentially without noticing them.”

Topological protection was first conceived not for light, but for electrons flowing in a solid material. However, Dr. Mikael Rechtsman and Mr. Yonatan Plotnik from the Technion, figured out how to bring topological protection into photonics, using an array of waveguides that interact with one another. The additional step needed to achieve topological protection was to make the waveguides helical (in the shape of a helix), rather than straight. “The helical nature of the waveguides breaks the symmetry, so that in the forward direction the waveguides are spinning clockwise, and in the backward direction, counterclockwise“ said Rechtsman. “In our procedure, this is an essential ingredient in preventing unwanted scattering.“

“Photonic topological insulators have the potential to provide an entirely new platform for probing and understanding topological protection,” explained Rechtsman. “For example, all sorts of experiments that would be difficult or impossible to carry out in solid-state materials can now be accessed using light.”

“Such new ideas might one day be an important part of the optical communication industry, being robust to scattering and disturbances: a super conductor of light,” added Plotnik.

“This discovery is another step in the progress towards optical and quantum computing,” said Julia Zeuner, a graduate student at Friedrich-Schiller University in Jena, who fabricated the sophisticated photonic structure and did part of the experiments. Her contributions, and those of her PhD advisor (Szameit), were absolutely crucial, and manifested a long standing Israeli-German collaboration between the teams. “We have discovered a completely novel phenomena,” concluded Segev, “and new phenomenon are destined to find applications in directions that we can’t even imagine.”

The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology is a major source of the innovation and brainpower that drives the Israeli economy, and a key to Israel’s renown as the world’s “Start-Up Nation.” Its three Nobel Prize winners exemplify academic excellence. Technion people, ideas and inventions make immeasurable contributions to the world including life-saving medicine, sustainable energy, computer science, water conservation and nanotechnology.

American Technion Society (ATS) donors provide critical support for the Technion—more than $1.78 billion since its inception in 1940. Based in New York City, the ATS and its network of chapters across the U.S. provide funds for scholarships, fellowships, faculty recruitment and chairs, research, buildings, laboratories, classrooms and dormitories, and more.

Kevin Hattori | Newswise
Further information:
http://www.ats.org

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht The role of Sodium for the Enhancement of Solar Cells
17.07.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung GmbH

nachricht Behavior-influencing policies are critical for mass market success of low carbon vehicles
17.07.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Microscopic trampoline may help create networks of quantum computers

17.07.2018 | Information Technology

In borophene, boundaries are no barrier

17.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

The role of Sodium for the Enhancement of Solar Cells

17.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>