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New metamaterial with unusual refraction of light to speed up computers

December 28, 2015, 11:00 UTC+3 MOSCOW
In the future, the structures will be able to be used to develop compact optical devices, as well as to create an "invisibility cloak"
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© ITAR-TASS/Vladimir Smirnov

MOSCOW, December 28. /TASS/. A team of Russian scientists from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) and the Landau Institute for Theoretical Physics of the Russian Academy of Sciences have proposed a two-dimensional metamaterial composed of silver elements, that refracts light in an unusual way. The research has been published in Optical Material Express journal. In the future, these structures will be able to be used to develop compact optical devices, as well as to create an "invisibility cloak."

The results of computer simulations carried out by the researchers showed that it would be a high performance material for light with a wavelength from 400-500nm (violet, blue and light blue). Efficiency in this case is defined as the percentage of light scattered in a desired direction. The efficiency of the material is approximately 70% for refraction, and 80% for reflection of the light. Theoretically, the efficiency could reach 100%, but in real metals there are losses due to ohm resistance.

The results achieved can be applied to control optical signals in ultra-compact devices. In this case we are talking primarily about optical transmission and information processing technologies, which will help expedite computer processing in the future. Electrical interconnects used in modern chips are operating at the limit of their carrying capacities and inhibit further growth in computing performance. To switch from electrical to optical interconnections we need to be able to effectively control optical signals on nanotechnology. In order to solve this problem the efforts of the scientific community are focused to a large extent on creating structures capable of "turning" the light in the desired direction.

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