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New material puts a twist in light

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posted on Jul, 18 2014 @ 05:52 PM
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New material puts a twist in light


Scientists at The Australian National University (ANU) have uncovered the secret to twisting light at will. It is the latest step in the development of photonics, the faster, more compact and less carbon-hungry successor to electronics.

A random find in the washing basket led the team to create the latest in a new breed of materials known as metamaterials. These artificial materials show extraordinary properties quite unlike natural materials.

"Our material can put a twist into light -- that is, rotate its polarisation -- orders of magnitude more strongly than natural materials," said lead author Mingkai Liu, a PhD student at the ANU Research School of Physics and Engineering (RSPE).

"And we can switch the effect on and off directly with light," said Mr Liu .

Electronics is estimated to account for two per cent of the global carbon footprint, a figure which photonics has the potential to reduce significantly. Already light carried by fibre optics, has replaced electricity for carrying signals over long distances. The next step is to develop photonic analogues of electronic computer chips, by actively controlling the properties of light, such as its polarisation.

The ability of a material to rotate polarisation, as in this experiment, springs from the asymmetry of a molecule. It occurs in natural minerals and substances; for example, sugar is asymmetric and so polarisation rotation can be used to measure sugar concentrations, which is useful in diabetes research.

However the remarkable properties of this artificial material might first be put to use in the budding photonics industry, suggests co-author Dr David Powell, also from RSPE.

"It's another completely new tool in the toolbox for processing light," he says. "Thin slices of these materials can replace bulky collections of lenses and mirrors. This miniaturisation could lead to the creation of more compact opto-electronic devices, such as a light-based version of the electronic transistor."


In order to be able to build devices based on these artificial materials, you need to be able to be able to tune the metamaterial. The metamaterials are formed from a pattern of tiny metal shapes, dubbed meta-atoms & when you shine a light on them they rotate.

This could mean even smaller electronics because you don't need a collection of lasers and mirrors. This is something that will be highly useful in the photonics industry & could even be used for diabetic research. ((see the article for more details about being used in diabetic research))




posted on Jul, 18 2014 @ 10:51 PM
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a reply to: knoledgeispower


The idea came to me when I found a piece of wire in my washing one day.


I'll be back very soon with an absolutely AMAZING and REVOLUTIONARY response after I do my washing (no promises).

I just wish I was intelligent enough to give you a little lecture on the properties of light and the future applications of this technology but in reality I'm just like an excited little kid waiting for the future and damnit I won't leave this world happy 'til I have my own space ship and lazer gun.

But with promise of light speed and compact electronics (I guess thats what photonics is really in terms of our application of it, though I could be wrong) with reduced emissions, and potential in the medical field even though this is in its infancy, I'm happy enough.

S&F and ty for the thread



posted on Jul, 19 2014 @ 06:44 PM
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This is surely a thread which should be bumped so more people can see it. Very interesting OP, thanks.



posted on Jul, 19 2014 @ 07:50 PM
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originally posted by: Aleister
This is surely a thread which should be bumped so more people can see it. Very interesting OP, thanks.

Your welcome.

I was surprised at how little activity has been going on in this thread. I thought it was an interesting article.



posted on Jul, 19 2014 @ 09:04 PM
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a reply to: knoledgeispower

It looks like you posted, and then nobody answered you, so the thread went down the stack pretty quickly and many people never saw it, the reason for a bump. Can't say I understand this topic or the new tech it may provide, but it sure sounds interesting.



posted on Jul, 19 2014 @ 09:39 PM
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originally posted by: Aleister
a reply to: knoledgeispower

It looks like you posted, and then nobody answered you, so the thread went down the stack pretty quickly and many people never saw it, the reason for a bump. Can't say I understand this topic or the new tech it may provide, but it sure sounds interesting.



I often share stuff that I don't fully understand because I know there are others out there that do & will appreciate the article. Sometimes I even learn more about the subject because of the responses from other peo



posted on Jul, 24 2014 @ 11:18 AM
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Very cool.. But what does it all meaaan?




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