Inside a photon prison, a light-and-matter hybrid is born

Scientists at Cambridge University and the Imperial College London have trapped photons inside a tiny gold cavity, forcing it to interact with matter to form a hybrid state. This unique mixture – or "strong coupling" – of light and matter, achieved for the first time at room temperature, will help scientists develop better on-chip communications, manipulate quantum information, or even tweak the chemical bonds of single molecules.Read More


Sound waves used to boost intensity of light on a silicon chip

Using a newly-developed waveguide, scientists at Yale have created a method to significantly increase the power of laser light on a silicon chip by boosting it with sound waves. The researchers believe that this new device could have practical uses in commercial technologies, including more efficient fiber-optic communications and better data signal processing. Read More


Tiny lasers on silicon means big things for electronics

Silicon forms the basis of everything from solar cells to the integrated circuits at the heart of our modern electronic gadgets. However the laser, one of the most ubiquitous of all electronic devices today, has long been one component unable to be successfully replicated in this material. Now researchers have found a way to create microscopically-small lasers directly from silicon, unlocking the possibilities of direct integration of photonics on silicon and taking a significant step towards light-based computersRead More


Novel smart materials change color and opacity when stretched

Marine animals such as squid, cuttlefish, and octopus can display incredible patterns of colors by selectively contracting individual muscles to activate pigment-containing cells below their skin. Inspired by this novel capability, researchers from the University of Connecticut have created color and transparency changing materials that alter their properties in response to mechanical force. Known collectively as mechanocromics, these materials might be used to create everything from smart windows to physical encryption devices.Read More


Researchers discover new property of light with a twist

Light is a fundamental avenue of study in physics, and its properties are well established with steadfast rules and invariable constraints. So, until recently, we thought we knew just about everything there was to know about it. But now physicists from Trinity College Dublin have added a twist to the existing canon by demonstrating a new form of light with a total angular momentum that has a half-integer spin. In other words, light that does not obey the rules.Read More


Testing the world's blackest material in orbit

A cutting edge light retardant coating designed to reduce the interference to the delicate optical equipment mounted on space probes is being put through its paces aboard the Kent Ridge 1 satellite, which launched into low-Earth orbit (LEO) in Dec. 2015. Known as Vantablack S-VIS, it is hoped that the high performance and versatility of the material will allow for the design of lighter, more compact satellite hardware.Read More


Inexpensive 3D-printed lens gives terahertz imaging a boost

Terahertz radiation is a growing field of technology that enables faster materials analysis than X-ray examination, and provides non-destructive, internal analysis of a raft of different types of materials. Now researchers have developed a way of manufacturing lenses operating at this frequency that are simple and inexpensive, but are claimed to produce near-flawless images which could vastly improve biomedical imaging as well as biological and explosive security scanning.Read More


Twisting puts the brakes on light in a vacuum

The speed of light is a universal constant, but, according to scientists at the University of Ottawa, not that constant. A team of researchers led by assistant professor Ebrahim Karimi has discovered that twisted light traveling through a vacuum moves slower than the speed set by Einstein's theory of relativity, which has implications for quantum computing and communications.Read More


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