Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors
Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Scientists make transparent materials absorb light

This is a schematic of a virtual light absorption process: A layer of a transparent material is exposed to light beams from both sides, with the light intensity increasing in time. Image courtesy of the researchers.
CREDIT
MIPT Press Office
This is a schematic of a virtual light absorption process: A layer of a transparent material is exposed to light beams from both sides, with the light intensity increasing in time. Image courtesy of the researchers. CREDIT MIPT Press Office

Abstract:
A group of physicists from Russia, Sweden, and the U.S. has demonstrated a highly unusual optical effect: They managed to "virtually" absorb light using a material that has no light-absorbing capacity. The research findings, published in Optica, break new ground for the creation of memory elements for light.

Scientists make transparent materials absorb light

Moscow, Russia | Posted on December 1st, 2017

The absorption of electromagnetic radiation -- light, among other things -- is one of the main effects of electromagnetism. This process takes place when electromagnetic energy is converted to heat or another kind of energy within an absorbing material (for instance, during electron excitation). Coal, black paint, and carbon nanotube arrays -- also known as Vantablack -- look black because they absorb the energy of the incident light almost completely. Other materials, such as glass or quartz, have no absorbing properties and therefore look transparent.

In their theoretical research, the results of which were published in the journal Optica, the physicists managed to dispel that simple and intuitive notion by making a completely transparent material appear perfectly absorbing. To achieve that, the researchers employed special mathematical properties of the scattering matrix -- a function that relates an incident electromagnetic field with the one scattered by the system. When a light beam of time-independent intensity hits a transparent object, the light does not get absorbed but is scattered by the material -- a phenomenon caused by the unitary property of the scattering matrix. It turned out, however, that if the intensity of the incident beam is varied with time in a certain fashion, the unitary property can be disrupted, at least for some time. In particular, if the intensity growth is exponential, the total incident light energy will accumulate in the transparent material without leaving it (fig. 1). That being the case, the system will appear perfectly absorbing from the outside.

To illustrate the effect, the researchers examined a thin layer of a transparent dielectric and calculated the intensity profile required for the absorption of the incident light. The calculations confirmed that when the incident wave intensity grows exponentially (the dotted line on fig. 2), the light is neither transmitted nor reflected (the solid curve on fig. 2). That is, the layer looks perfectly absorbing despite the fact that it lacks the actual absorption capacity. However, when the exponential growth of the incident wave amplitude comes to a halt (at t = 0), the energy locked in the layer is released.

"Our theoretical findings appear to be rather counterintuitive. Up until we started our research, we couldn't even imagine that it would be possible to 'pull off such a trick' with a transparent structure," says Denis Baranov, a doctoral student at MIPT and one of the authors of the study. "However, it was the mathematics that led us to the effect. Who knows, electrodynamics may well harbor other fascinating phenomena."

The results of the study not only broaden our general understanding of how light behaves when it interacts with common transparent materials, but also have a wide range of practical applications. To give an example, the accumulation of light in a transparent material may help design optical memory devices that would store optical information without any losses and release it when needed.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Ilyana Zolotareva

7-977-771-4699

Copyright © Moscow Institute of Physics and 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 Links

RELATED JOURNAL ARTICLE:

Related News Press

News and information

Gold nanoparticles to facilitate in-situ detection of amplified DNA at room temperature March 21st, 2019

CEA-Leti Announces Prototype of Next-generation Photo-Acoustic Sensors for Gas Detection: REDFINCH Team Achieves These Capabilities in Mid-infrared Region, Where Many Important Chemical and Biological Species Have Strong Absorption Fingerprints March 21st, 2019

Fish-Inspired Material Changes Color Using Nanocolumns March 18th, 2019

New method to reduce uranium concentration in contaminated water March 18th, 2019

Possible Futures

Gold nanoparticles to facilitate in-situ detection of amplified DNA at room temperature March 21st, 2019

Fish-Inspired Material Changes Color Using Nanocolumns March 18th, 2019

New method to reduce uranium concentration in contaminated water March 18th, 2019

Exotic “second sound” phenomenon observed in pencil lead: At relatively balmy temperatures, heat behaves like sound when moving through graphite, study reports March 15th, 2019

Memory Technology

CEA-Leti & Stanford Target Edge-AI Apps with Breakthrough Memory Cell: Paper at ISSCC 2019 Presents Proof-of-Concept Multi-Bit Chip That Overcomes NVM’s Read/Write, Latency and Integration Challenges February 20th, 2019

Spintronics by 'straintronics': Switching superferromagnetism with electric-field induced strain February 15th, 2019

Laser-induced graphene gets tough, with help: Rice University lab combines conductive foam with other materials for capable new composites February 12th, 2019

A new 'spin' on kagome lattices: Team's findings shed new light on the presence of spin-orbit coupling and topological spin textures in kagome lattices December 9th, 2018

Nanotubes/Buckyballs/Fullerenes/Nanorods

Now made in Japan – Asian battery manufacturers welcome highly conductive nanotube additive March 7th, 2019

Straightforward biosynthesis of functional bulk nanocomposites February 5th, 2019

Drilling speed increased by 20% – yet another upgrade in the oil & gas sector made possible by graphene nanotubes January 15th, 2019

Chemical synthesis of nanotubes: Nanometer-sized tubes made from simple benzene molecules January 11th, 2019

Optical computing/Photonic computing

When semiconductors stick together, materials go quantum: A new study led by Berkeley Lab reveals how aligned layers of atomically thin semiconductors can yield an exotic new quantum material March 12th, 2019

New blueprint for understanding, predicting and optimizing complex nanoparticles: Guidelines have the potential to transform the fields of optoelectronics, bio-imaging and energy harvesting March 1st, 2019

Hall effect becomes viscous in graphene: Researchers at the University of Manchester in the UK have discovered that electrons in graphene act like a very unique liquid February 28th, 2019

Researchers move closer to practical photonic quantum computing: New method fills critical need to measure large-scale quantum correlation of single photons February 28th, 2019

Discoveries

Gold nanoparticles to facilitate in-situ detection of amplified DNA at room temperature March 21st, 2019

CEA-Leti Announces Prototype of Next-generation Photo-Acoustic Sensors for Gas Detection: REDFINCH Team Achieves These Capabilities in Mid-infrared Region, Where Many Important Chemical and Biological Species Have Strong Absorption Fingerprints March 21st, 2019

Fish-Inspired Material Changes Color Using Nanocolumns March 18th, 2019

New method to reduce uranium concentration in contaminated water March 18th, 2019

Materials/Metamaterials

Converting biomass by applying mechanical force Nanoscientists discover new mechanism to cleave cellulose effectively and in an environmentally friendly way March 15th, 2019

Now made in Japan – Asian battery manufacturers welcome highly conductive nanotube additive March 7th, 2019

Can a flowing liquid-like material maintain its structural order like crystals? February 27th, 2019

Super-light, super-insulating ceramic aerogel keeps the hottest temperatures at bay February 17th, 2019

Announcements

Gold nanoparticles to facilitate in-situ detection of amplified DNA at room temperature March 21st, 2019

CEA-Leti Announces Prototype of Next-generation Photo-Acoustic Sensors for Gas Detection: REDFINCH Team Achieves These Capabilities in Mid-infrared Region, Where Many Important Chemical and Biological Species Have Strong Absorption Fingerprints March 21st, 2019

Fish-Inspired Material Changes Color Using Nanocolumns March 18th, 2019

New method to reduce uranium concentration in contaminated water March 18th, 2019

Interviews/Book Reviews/Essays/Reports/Podcasts/Journals/White papers

Gold nanoparticles to facilitate in-situ detection of amplified DNA at room temperature March 21st, 2019

Fish-Inspired Material Changes Color Using Nanocolumns March 18th, 2019

New method to reduce uranium concentration in contaminated water March 18th, 2019

Converting biomass by applying mechanical force Nanoscientists discover new mechanism to cleave cellulose effectively and in an environmentally friendly way March 15th, 2019

Photonics/Optics/Lasers

CEA-Leti Announces Prototype of Next-generation Photo-Acoustic Sensors for Gas Detection: REDFINCH Team Achieves These Capabilities in Mid-infrared Region, Where Many Important Chemical and Biological Species Have Strong Absorption Fingerprints March 21st, 2019

New blueprint for understanding, predicting and optimizing complex nanoparticles: Guidelines have the potential to transform the fields of optoelectronics, bio-imaging and energy harvesting March 1st, 2019

Hybrid material may outperform graphene in several applications: A structure comprising a molybdenum disulfide monolayer on an azobenzene substrate could be used to build a highly compactable and malleable quasi-two-dimensional transistor powered by light February 28th, 2019

Researchers move closer to practical photonic quantum computing: New method fills critical need to measure large-scale quantum correlation of single photons February 28th, 2019

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



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project