Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists develop first photonic topological insulators to provide protection for transport of light

Date:
April 10, 2013
Source:
American Technion Society
Summary:
Researchers have developed and successfully demonstrated a photonic Floquet topological insulator, a new device used to protect the transport of light through a unique, lattice of ‘waveguides.’ This could play a key role in the photonics industry.

Researchers at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology have developed and successfully demonstrated a photonic topological insulator, a new device used to protect the transport of light through a unique, lattice of 'waveguides' The advancement may play a key role in the photonics industry.

A description of the advancement was published in the current issue of the journal Nature.

The photonics industry is at the heart of modern computing and communication. It has allowed vast amounts of data to be transmitted extremely quickly over fiber optic lines that cross the oceans. Photonic technology (i.e., technology that is based on the flow and control of light) is at the heart of DVDs, fabrication of computer chips, and solar cells.

As computers get faster and computer chips get denser, there is a need for smaller and smaller devices that manipulate light. But when devices get smaller, imperfections in the fabrication processes can play a large role, making light move irregularly and unpredictably. In other words, there's a need for a new methodology to prevent unwanted scattering from any kind of defect.

Researchers at group of Prof. Mordechai (Moti) Segev at the Technion, in collaboration with the group of Prof. Alex Szameit at the Friedrich-Schiller University in Jena, Germany, have done exactly that. Using a lattice-work of 'waveguides' (which are like wires that guide light instead of electricity), the researchers have experimentally demonstrated a 'photonic topological insulator.' The researchers used an array of helical 'waveguides' (shaped like curly hairs) arranged in a 'honeycomb' lattice structure, similar to the pattern observed in beehives. In such a structure, where each waveguide is thinner than a tenth of a human hair, light is 'topologically protected,' which means it flows uninterrupted despite the presence of defects.

According to Segev, "topological protection means that light simply flows around imperfections essentially without noticing them."

Topological protection was first conceived not for light, but for electrons flowing in a solid material. However, Dr. Mikael Rechtsman and Mr. Yonatan Plotnik from the Technion, figured out how to bring topological protection into photonics, using an array of waveguides that interact with one another. The additional step needed to achieve topological protection was to make the waveguides helical (in the shape of a helix), rather than straight. "The helical nature of the waveguides breaks the symmetry, so that in the forward direction the waveguides are spinning clockwise, and in the backward direction, counterclockwise" said Rechtsman. "In our procedure, this is an essential ingredient in preventing unwanted scattering."

"Photonic topological insulators have the potential to provide an entirely new platform for probing and understanding topological protection," explained Rechtsman. "For example, all sorts of experiments that would be difficult or impossible to carry out in solid-state materials can now be accessed using light."

"Such new ideas might one day be an important part of the optical communication industry, being robust to scattering and disturbances: a super conductor of light," added Plotnik.

"This discovery is another step in the progress towards optical and quantum computing," said Julia Zeuner, a graduate student at Friedrich-Schiller University in Jena, who fabricated the sophisticated photonic structure and did part of the experiments. Her contributions, and those of her PhD advisor (Szameit), were absolutely crucial, and manifested a long standing Israeli-German collaboration between the teams. "We have discovered a completely novel phenomena," concluded Segev, "and new phenomenon are destined to find applications in directions that we can't even imagine."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Technion Society. The original article was written by Kevin Hattori. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Mikael C. Rechtsman, Julia M. Zeuner, Yonatan Plotnik, Yaakov Lumer, Daniel Podolsky, Felix Dreisow, Stefan Nolte, Mordechai Segev, Alexander Szameit. Photonic Floquet topological insulators. Nature, 2013; 496 (7444): 196 DOI: 10.1038/nature12066

Cite This Page:

American Technion Society. "Scientists develop first photonic topological insulators to provide protection for transport of light." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130410141310.htm>.
American Technion Society. (2013, April 10). Scientists develop first photonic topological insulators to provide protection for transport of light. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130410141310.htm
American Technion Society. "Scientists develop first photonic topological insulators to provide protection for transport of light." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130410141310.htm (accessed August 22, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Friday, August 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Former TSA X-Ray Scanners Easily Tricked To Miss Weapons

Former TSA X-Ray Scanners Easily Tricked To Miss Weapons

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) Researchers found the scanners could be duped simply by placing a weapon off to the side of the body or encasing it under a plastic shield. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flower Power! Dandelions Make Car Tires?

Flower Power! Dandelions Make Car Tires?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 20, 2014) Forget rolling on rubber, could car drivers soon be traveling on tires made from dandelions? Teams of scientists are racing to breed a type of the yellow flower whose taproot has a milky fluid with tire-grade rubber particles in it. As Joanna Partridge reports, global tire makers are investing millions in research into a new tire source. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) Scientists have developed a new device that mimics the way octopuses blend in with their surroundings to hide from dangerous predators. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins