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A team from Harvard University’s John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) has developed rewritable optical components for surface lightwaves.
When a wave of light is confined on a 2D plane by certain materials, it becomes something known as a polariton — a particle that blurs the line between light and matter. Polaritons enable light to be tightly confined to the nanoscale, even potentially to the thickness of a few atoms. That capability poses interesting implications for the future of optical circuits. Unlike electronic integrated circuits, integrated optics is difficult to miniaturize with commonly used materials: All of the current methods of controlling light are 3D.
A 2D prism. Courtesy…