Microscopic Marvel: A Photonic Device that Could Change Physics and Lasers Forever

Photonic Topological Insulator

Rendering of the photonic topological insulator developed in the study. Credit: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute researchers have developed the first topological quantum simulator device in the strong light-matter interaction regime that operates at room temperature, revolutionizing quantum studies and laser efficiency, and making advanced research more accessible.

Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) have fabricated a device no wider than a human hair that will help physicists investigate the fundamental nature of matter and light. Their findings, published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, could also support the development of more efficient lasers, which are used in fields ranging from medicine to manufacturing.

The device is made of a special kind of material called a photonic topological insulator. A photonic topological insulator can guide photons, the wave-like particles that make up light, to interfaces specifically designed within the material while also preventing these particles from scattering through the material itself.

Quantum Simulation and Laser Development

Because of this property, topological insulators can make many photons coherently act like one SciTechDaily