New materials to herd photons

By Mark LaPedus – Used in communication systems, optical networks employ isolators to keep light from reflecting backwards. Isolators also absorb photons, thereby reducing a signal in a system.

All of that may be unnecessary in the future, however. MIT, Zhejiang University in China, and the University of Texas at Austin have devised a new “metamaterial” that keeps photons moving in only one direction. This, in turn, could pave the way toward chips that move data with light. more>


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