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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Squeezing Light

Scientists Can Now “Squeeze” Light, a Breakthrough That Could Make Computers Millions of Times Faster

Olivia Goldhill | October 25, 2015

Have you ever wondered why we don’t use light to transmit messages? Nothing can travel faster than the speed of light, but while we use light to carry signals along fiber optic cables, we use electrons to process sound and information in our phones and computers. The reason has always been because light particles–photons—are extremely difficult to manipulate, whereas electrons can be manipulated relatively easily.
But now a group of Harvard physicists has taken a major step toward solving that puzzle, and have brought us one step closer to ultra-fast, light-based computers.


<more at; related links: (On-chip zero-index metamaterials. Yang Li, Shota Kita, Philip Muñoz, Orad Reshef, Daryl I. Vulis, Mei Yin, Marko Lončar and Eric Mazur. Nature Photonics (2015). doi:10.1038/nphoton.2015.198. Published online October 19, 2015. [Abstract: Metamaterials with a refractive index of zero exhibit physical properties such as infinite phase velocity and wavelength. However, there is no way to implement these materials on a photonic chip, restricting the investigation and application of zero-index phenomena to simple shapes and small scales. We designed and fabricated an on-chip integrated metamaterial with a refractive index of zero in the optical regime. Light refracts perpendicular to the facets of a prism made of this metamaterial, directly demonstrating that the index of refraction is zero. The metamaterial consists of low-aspect-ratio silicon pillar arrays embedded in a polymer matrix and clad by gold films. This structure can be fabricated using standard planar processes over a large area in arbitrary shapes and can efficiently couple to photonic integrated circuits and other optical elements. This novel on-chip metamaterial platform opens the door to exploring the physics of zero index and its applications in integrated optics.]) and (Squeezed Light.)>

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