Coddled crystal slams door on light

3:02pm, June 16, 2003

A light touch has improved a material designed to manipulate light. The development brings photonic microcircuits, which would use photons instead of electrons, closer to reality, researchers say.

To create microchips for light, many researchers have been attempting to create repetitive, crystal-like structures called photonic crystals. Now, Susuma Noda of Kyoto University in Japan and his colleagues report making photonic crystals that approach perfection. The group builds its crystals by positioning strips of semiconductor compounds in a three-dimensional stack known as a woodpile.

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