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Home > News > Timing nature’s fastest optical shutter

April 8th, 2005

Timing nature’s fastest optical shutter

Abstract:
It’s nature’s fastest quick-change artist: In less than the time it takes a beam of light to travel a tenth of a millimeter, vanadium dioxide can switch from a transparent to a reflective, mirror-like state.

How this material (VO2) can turn from a transparent insulator into a reflective metal so rapidly has physicists scratching their heads, but a collaboration among researchers at Vanderbilt, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has clocked the transfiguration at one-tenth of a trillionth of a second.

(Ed.'s note: a fascinating article on the properties of the nanoscale.)

Source:
Vanderbilt

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