A new material slows down light and captures a wide range of wavelengths in different frequencies, including visible, near-infrared, mid-infrared, terahertz, and microwaves. (Credit: University at Buffalo)

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY – Posted by Cory Nealon-Buffalo on Monday, February 18, 2013 11:50

To trap a rainbow, slow down light

U. BUFFALO (US) — A new material that halts and absorbs light may lead to advances in solar energy, stealth technology, and other fields, experts report.

Researchers developed a “hyperbolic metamaterial waveguide” that halts and ultimately absorbs each frequency of light, at slightly different places in a vertical direction, to catch a “rainbow” of wavelengths. The technology is essentially an advanced microchip made of ultra-thin films of metal and semiconductors and/or insulators.

“Electromagnetic absorbers have been studied for many years, especially for military radar systems,” says Qiaoqiang Gan, an assistant professor of electrical engineering at University at Buffalo.

“Right now, researchers are developing compact light absorbers based on optically thick semiconductors or carbon nanotubes. However, it is still challenging to realize the perfect absorber in ultra-thin films with tunable absorption band.

“We are developing ultra-thin films that will slow the light and therefore allow much more efficient absorption, which will address the long existing challenge.”

Read more: Futurity.org – To trap a rainbow, slow down light.

Home           Top of page