Light-bending tech shrinks kilometers-long radiation system to millimeter scale

phys.org | 10/26/2018 | Staff
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The DESY accelerator facility in Hamburg, Germany, goes on for miles to host a particle making kilometer-long laps at almost the speed of light. Now researchers have shrunk such a facility to the size of a computer chip.

A University of Michigan team in collaboration with Purdue University created a new device that still accommodates speed along circular paths, but for producing lower light frequencies in the terahertz range of applications such as identifying counterfeit dollar bills or distinguishing between cancerous and healthy tissue.

Order - Piece - Beam - Intensity - Phase

"In order to get light to curve, you have to sculpt every piece of the light beam to a particular intensity and phase, and now we can do this in an extremely surgical way," said Roberto Merlin, the University of Michigan's Peter A. Franken Collegiate Professor of Physics.

The work is published in the journal Science. Ultimately, this device could be conveniently adapted for a computer chip.

Sources - Source - System - Millimeter - Scale

"The more terahertz sources we have, the better. This new source is also exceptionally more efficient, let alone that it's a massive system created at the millimeter scale," said Vlad Shalaev, Purdue's Bob and Anne Burnett Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

The device that Michigan and Purdue researchers built generates so-called "synchrotron" radiation, which is electromagnetic energy given off by charged particles, such as electrons and ions, that are moving close to the speed of light when magnetic fields bend...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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