Nanotechnology Now







Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > A new way to trap light: MIT researchers discover a new phenomenon that could lead to new types of lasers and sensors

Light is found to be confined within a planar slab with periodic array of holes, although the light is theoretically "allowed" to escape. Blue and red colors indicate surfaces of equal electric field.
Image: Chia Wei Hsu
Light is found to be confined within a planar slab with periodic array of holes, although the light is theoretically "allowed" to escape. Blue and red colors indicate surfaces of equal electric field.

Image: Chia Wei Hsu

Abstract:
There are several ways to "trap" a beam of light usually with mirrors, other reflective surfaces, or high-tech materials such as photonic crystals. But now researchers at MIT have discovered a new method to trap light that could find a wide variety of applications.

A new way to trap light: MIT researchers discover a new phenomenon that could lead to new types of lasers and sensors

Cambridge, MA | Posted on July 10th, 2013

The new system, devised through computer modeling and then demonstrated experimentally, pits light waves against light waves: It sets up two waves that have the same wavelength, but exactly opposite phases where one wave has a peak, the other has a trough so that the waves cancel each other out. Meanwhile, light of other wavelengths (or colors) can pass through freely.

The researchers say that this phenomenon could apply to any type of wave: sound waves, radio waves, electrons (whose behavior can be described by wave equations), and even waves in water.

The discovery is reported this week in the journal Nature by professors of physics Marin Soljačić and John Joannopoulos, associate professor of applied mathematics Steven Johnson, and graduate students Chia Wei Hsu, Bo Zhen, Jeongwon Lee and Song-Liang Chua.

"For many optical devices you want to build," Soljačić says including lasers, solar cells and fiber optics "you need a way to confine light." This has most often been accomplished using mirrors of various kinds, including both traditional mirrors and more advanced dielectric mirrors, as well as exotic photonic crystals and devices that rely on a phenomenon called Anderson localization. In all of these cases, light's passage is blocked: In physics terminology, there are no "permitted" states for the light to continue on its path, so it is forced into a reflection.

In the new system, however, that is not the case. Instead, light of a particular wavelength is blocked by destructive interference from other waves that are precisely out of phase. "It's a very different way of confining light," Soljačić says.

While there may ultimately be practical applications, at this point the team is focused on its discovery of a new, unexpected phenomenon. "New physical phenomena often enable new applications," Hsu says. Possible applications, he suggests, could include large-area lasers and chemical or biological sensors.

The researchers first saw the possibility of this phenomenon through numerical simulations; the prediction was then verified experimentally.

In mathematical terms, the new phenomenon where one frequency of light is trapped while other nearby frequencies are not is an example of an "embedded eigenvalue." This had been described as a theoretical possibility by the mathematician and computational pioneer John von Neumann in 1929. While physicists have since been interested in the possibility of such an effect, nobody had previously seen this phenomenon in practice, except for special cases involving symmetry.

Written by David Chandler, MIT News Office

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Sarah McDonnell

671-253-8923

Copyright © Massachusetts Institute of Technology

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Defects in atomically thin semiconductor emit single photons: Researchers create optically active quantum dots in 2-D semiconductor for the first time; may have applications for integrated photonics May 4th, 2015

Arrowhead to Report Fiscal 2015 Second Quarter Financial Results May 4th, 2015

From brittle to plastic in 1 breath: Rice University theorists show environments can alter 2-D materials' basic properties May 4th, 2015

Nanoparticles in consumer products can significantly alter normal gut microbiome May 4th, 2015

Possible Futures

Printing Silicon on Paper, with Lasers April 21st, 2015

A glass fiber that brings light to a standstill: By coupling photons to atoms, light in a glass fiber can be slowed down to the speed of an express train; for a short while it can even be brought to a complete stop April 9th, 2015

Nanotechnology in Medical Devices Market is expected to reach $8.5 Billion by 2019 March 25th, 2015

Nanotechnology Enabled Drug Delivery to Influence Future Diagnosis and Treatments of Diseases March 21st, 2015

Optical computing/ Photonic computing

Defects in atomically thin semiconductor emit single photons: Researchers create optically active quantum dots in 2-D semiconductor for the first time; may have applications for integrated photonics May 4th, 2015

Northwestern scientists develop first liquid nanolaser: Technology could lead to new way of doing 'lab on a chip' medical diagnostics April 25th, 2015

Scientists create invisible objects without metamaterial cloaking April 14th, 2015

Solution-grown nanowires make the best lasers April 14th, 2015

Sensors

Making robots more human April 29th, 2015

Simultaneous Measurement of Drugs Made Possible by Nanosensors April 29th, 2015

Sensor Designed in Iran Able to Remove Formaldehyde Gas from Environment April 27th, 2015

ORNL reports method that takes quantum sensing to new level April 23rd, 2015

Discoveries

From brittle to plastic in 1 breath: Rice University theorists show environments can alter 2-D materials' basic properties May 4th, 2015

Nanoparticles in consumer products can significantly alter normal gut microbiome May 4th, 2015

Antibacterial Ceramic Nanoparticles, Appropriate Material for Medical Devices May 3rd, 2015

ORNL researchers probe chemistry, topography and mechanics with one instrument May 2nd, 2015

Announcements

Defects in atomically thin semiconductor emit single photons: Researchers create optically active quantum dots in 2-D semiconductor for the first time; may have applications for integrated photonics May 4th, 2015

Arrowhead to Report Fiscal 2015 Second Quarter Financial Results May 4th, 2015

From brittle to plastic in 1 breath: Rice University theorists show environments can alter 2-D materials' basic properties May 4th, 2015

Nanoparticles in consumer products can significantly alter normal gut microbiome May 4th, 2015

Energy

Engineering a better solar cell: UW research pinpoints defects in popular perovskites May 1st, 2015

Artificial photosynthesis could help make fuels, plastics and medicine April 29th, 2015

Unique microscopic images provide new insights into ionic liquids April 28th, 2015

ISDC To Showcase Northrop Grumman/Caltech Push Toward Space Solar Power April 28th, 2015

Photonics/Optics/Lasers

Defects in atomically thin semiconductor emit single photons: Researchers create optically active quantum dots in 2-D semiconductor for the first time; may have applications for integrated photonics May 4th, 2015

Engineering a better solar cell: UW research pinpoints defects in popular perovskites May 1st, 2015

Rice University's Richards-Kortum, Vardi elected to National Academy of Sciences: Bioengineer, computer scientist join elite list of dual-academy members April 29th, 2015

When mediated by superconductivity, light pushes matter million times more April 28th, 2015

Solar/Photovoltaic

Engineering a better solar cell: UW research pinpoints defects in popular perovskites May 1st, 2015

Artificial photosynthesis could help make fuels, plastics and medicine April 29th, 2015

Unique microscopic images provide new insights into ionic liquids April 28th, 2015

Pseudoparticles travel through photoactive material: KIT scientists measure important process in the conversion of light energy -- publication in Nature Communications April 24th, 2015

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More










ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project