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Study opens new realms of light-matter interaction (mit.edu)
78 points by lagudragu on July 18, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 8 comments

Link to research paper: "Shrinking light to allow forbidden transitions on the atomic scale"


"...in principle it has potential to enable the full use of the periodic table for optical applications.” Wow. Any Physics grad students looking for a topic, I'd say "surface plasmons" are about to get quite a bit more exciting ;)

Key quotes from the article:

"This method can enable the simultaneous emission of two photons that are “entangled,” meaning they share the same quantum state even when separated. Such generation of entangled photons is an important element in quantum devices, such as those that might be used for cryptography.

Making use of these forbidden transitions could open up the ability to tailor the optical properties of materials in ways that had not been thought possible, Rivera says. “By altering these rules” about the relationship between light and matter, “it can open new doors to reshaping the optical properties of materials.”"

This may be Nobel Prize material. It will take a while to tell if this is just a curiosity or the basis of much further work.

Joannopoulos has already advised one Nobel Prize winner himself.

Will be interesting to see how easy this ends up being to apply - could be pretty broad-ranging.

'Beyond its scientific implications, he says, “this study has possible applications across multiple disciplines, since in principle it has potential to enable the full use of the periodic table for optical applications.” This could potentially lead to applications in spectroscopy and sensing devices, ultrathin solar cells, new kinds of materials to absorb solar energy, organic LEDs with higher efficiencies, and photon sources for possible quantum computing devices.'

"...show theoretically..."

That's great (no sarcasm!). How difficult will experimental confirmation be - or is it in the article to which I don't currently have access?

Very interesting article. What are these plasmons? I've tried reading the Wikipedia article on it, but I'm not getting it. Can anyone explain it here?

To me it sounds like some half matter/half light-like particle. Like an intermediate particle between a photon and an electron.

Plasmons are an aggregate oscillation of charge density in a material. In the case of the charged graphene sheet, we get surface plasmons from the oscillations of the charged added to the sheet as mentioned in the article.

Plasmons are kind of cool because they can associate with photons to create polaritons. It's not clear to me without having read the paper if they're proposing that polaritons be induced or if the emissions are being caused by spontaneous plasmons in the graphene.

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