Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors
Heifer International



Home > Press > Experiment takes 'snapshots' of light, stops light, uses light to change properties of matter

Abstract:
Light travels at a speed of about 300,000,000 meters per second as light particles, photons, or equivalently as electromagnetic field waves. Experiments led by Hrvoje Petek, an R.K. Mellon professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy examined ideas surrounding the origins of light, taking snapshots of light, stopping light and using it to change properties of matter.

Experiment takes 'snapshots' of light, stops light, uses light to change properties of matter

Pittsburgh, PA | Posted on December 25th, 2020

Petek worked with students and collaborators Prof. Chen-Bin (Robin) Huang of the National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan, and Atsushi Kubo of the Tsukuba University of Japan on the experiments. Their findings were reported in the paper, "Plasmonic topological quasiparticle on the nanometre and femtosecond scales," which was published in the Dec. 24 issue of Nature magazine.

Petek credited graduate student Yanan Dai for his foresight and work in the process.

"The denouement of the research, however, is that Yanan, who performed the experiments and provided the theoretical modeling, demonstrated that he was educated far beyond his Professor's level and could interpret incisively the nanofemto topological properties and interactions of optical fields," he said.

The team performed an ultrafast microscopy experiment, where they trapped green light pulses of 20 fs (2x10-14 s) duration as composite light-electron density fluctuation waves, known as surface plasmon polaritons, and imaged their propagation on a silver surface at the speed of light. But they did this with a twist so that the light waves came together from two sides to form a light vortex where light waves appear to circulate about a stationary common core as a whirlwind of waves. They could generate a movie of how light waves churn on their nanometer (10-9 m) wavelength scale by imaging electrons that two light photons coming together cause to emit from the surface.

Gathering all such electrons with an electron microscope forms images where the light had passed, thus enabling the researchers to take its snapshot. Of course, if nothing is faster than light, one cannot take its snapshot, but by sending in two light pulses with their time separation advanced in 10-16 s steps, they could image how light waves come together causing their joint amplitude to rise and fall at fixed points in space forming a light vortex on the nano (10-9 m)-femto (10-15 s) scale.

Such light vortices form when you shine your red or green laser pointer onto a rough surface and see a speckle reflection, but they also have a cosmological significance. The light vortex fields can potentially cause transitions in the quantum mechanical phase order in solid state materials, such that the transformed material structure and its mirror image cannot be superimposed. In other words, the sense of the vortex rotation generates two materials that are topologically distinct.

Petek said such topological phase transitions are at the vanguard of physics research because they are thought to be responsible for some aspects of the structure of the Universe.

"Even the forces of nature including light, are thought to have emerged as symmetry breaking transitions of a primordial field. Thus, the ability to record the optical fields and plasmonic vortices in the experiment opens the way to perform ultrafast microscopy studies of related light-initiated phase transitions in condensed matter materials at the laboratory scale," he said.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:

Copyright © University of Pittsburgh

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

Hanging by a thread: Imaging and probing chains of single atoms: Scientists develop a method to visualize monoatomic chains and measure the strength and conductance of single-atom bonds May 14th, 2021

Nanophotonics enhanced coverslip for phase imaging in biology May 14th, 2021

New technology enables rapid sequencing of entire genomes of plant pathogens May 14th, 2021

Harvesting light like nature does:Synthesizing a new class of bio-inspired, light-capturing nanomaterials May 14th, 2021

Plasmonics

TPU scientists offer new plasmon energy-based method to remove CO2 from atmosphere March 19th, 2021

USTC develops ultrahigh-performance plasmonic metal-oxide materials January 11th, 2021

Observation charge accumulation at nanocavity on plasmonic photocatalyst August 28th, 2020

Making quantum 'waves' in ultrathin materials: Study co-led by Berkeley Lab reveals how wavelike plasmons could power up a new class of sensing and photochemical technologies at the nanoscale May 15th, 2020

Possible Futures

Emergence of a new heteronanostructure library May 14th, 2021

New technology enables rapid sequencing of entire genomes of plant pathogens May 14th, 2021

Harvesting light like nature does:Synthesizing a new class of bio-inspired, light-capturing nanomaterials May 14th, 2021

You're so vein: Scientists discover faster way to manufacture vascular materials May 14th, 2021

Optical computing/Photonic computing

Emergence of a new heteronanostructure library May 14th, 2021

With new optical device, engineers can fine tune the color of light April 23rd, 2021

New tech builds ultralow-loss integrated photonic circuits April 16th, 2021

Energy transmission by gold nanoparticles coupled to DNA structures April 9th, 2021

Discoveries

Emergence of a new heteronanostructure library May 14th, 2021

Hanging by a thread: Imaging and probing chains of single atoms: Scientists develop a method to visualize monoatomic chains and measure the strength and conductance of single-atom bonds May 14th, 2021

Nanophotonics enhanced coverslip for phase imaging in biology May 14th, 2021

You're so vein: Scientists discover faster way to manufacture vascular materials May 14th, 2021

Announcements

Emergence of a new heteronanostructure library May 14th, 2021

Nanophotonics enhanced coverslip for phase imaging in biology May 14th, 2021

New technology enables rapid sequencing of entire genomes of plant pathogens May 14th, 2021

Harvesting light like nature does:Synthesizing a new class of bio-inspired, light-capturing nanomaterials May 14th, 2021

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

Hanging by a thread: Imaging and probing chains of single atoms: Scientists develop a method to visualize monoatomic chains and measure the strength and conductance of single-atom bonds May 14th, 2021

Nanophotonics enhanced coverslip for phase imaging in biology May 14th, 2021

New technology enables rapid sequencing of entire genomes of plant pathogens May 14th, 2021

Harvesting light like nature does:Synthesizing a new class of bio-inspired, light-capturing nanomaterials May 14th, 2021

Photonics/Optics/Lasers

Emergence of a new heteronanostructure library May 14th, 2021

Nanophotonics enhanced coverslip for phase imaging in biology May 14th, 2021

With new optical device, engineers can fine tune the color of light April 23rd, 2021

Silver ions hurry up, then wait as they disperse: Rice chemists show ionsí staged release from gold-silver nanoparticles could be useful property April 23rd, 2021

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