A design based on exotic materials lets scientists better control the flow of light particles
M.A. Bandres et al/Science 2018
A new type of laser is modeled after an exotic class of materials called topological insulators. And it’s proving more reliable and energy-efficient than its conventional counterparts, paving the way for possible use in quantum communication and next-generation electronics.
The device, described online February 1 in Science, is composed of a grid of semiconductor rings that convert energy into particles of light. The device then channels these photons in a single direction around the grid to until they are emitted as a beam.
The design borrows from the concept behind topological insulators — a kind of material that blocks electric current through its interior but lets electrons surf along its surface (SN: 5/22/10, p. 22). Scientists have engineered devices that similarly