To the 10th anniversary of the “caught rainbow” – the revolution of slow light
10 years ago the German physicist Ortwin Hess in his article “Storing light in a rainbow trap from metamaterials” suggested that light can be slowed down with the help of new materials.
As is known, the speed of light in a vacuum is about 300 thousand km / sec, but when passing through transparent materials (water, glass), it slightly “brakes”. According to scientists, if this speed is reduced by millions of times, then the light could be used, for example, to transmit and store information.
Ortwin Hess and his colleagues Cosmas Tsakmakidis and Alan Bordman suggested using metamateryls, which are not found in nature, for light deceleration. According to scientists, with their help you can not only slow down the light, but also “catch” it.
The process of creating a rainbow trap relies on nanoplasmic structures that exhibit unusual atypical properties in the environment of “normal” materials. When the light passes through the metamaterial, then at the interface between the two materials, it experiences a small rollback. Approximately the same thing happens when a skier climbs up a steep snowy slope – every step has a small pullback down.
With reference to metametrial, the following occurs: when the light is “rolled back”, it gradually slows down together with all the components of its spectrum-each color stops at its own point. As a result, the rainbow appears in a kind of “trap”.
This slow-light deceleration effect has several very useful applications. For example, it can be used as a data transmission method. Another promising direction is the formation of biomedical images. Sometimes, to obtain a clear picture, it is required to increase the intensity of the laser beam, which can lead to the destruction of the object under study. Slowing down the light, such negative consequences can be avoided.