Scientists have produced two-dimensional photonic time crystals that amplify light and could be used to advance laser and wireless technology.
Researchers have discovered a method for making these crystals and demonstrated that these strange, artificial substances could enhance the light that shines on them. These discoveries could result in better lasers and more effective and reliable wireless communications.
Nobel laureate Frank Wilczek originally proposed time crystals in 2012. A structural pattern repeats in space in ordinary, everyday crystals, but in a time crystal, the structural pattern repeats in time. Time crystals have been successfully created in recent tests, despite some physicists’ initial skepticism. Last year, the Low-Temperature Laboratory at Aalto University produced paired time crystals that might benefit quantum devices.
These crystals, which are time-based iterations of optical materials, have been created by a different team. The scientists developed microwave-operating photonic time crystals, demonstrating that they can enhance electromagnetic waves. Potential uses for this skill include wireless communication, integrated circuits, and lasers, among other technologies.
Most of the work on these crystals has been on bulk materials or three-dimensional structures. The team decided to try a new strategy and construct a metasurface, a two-dimensional photonic time crystal. The new approach enabled the team to fabricate a photonic time crystal and experimentally verify the theoretical predictions about its behavior.
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