The Lightest Mirror In The World

in STEMGeeks11 months ago

Quantum optics mages created a quantum optic mirror made from a metamaterial which is based on a structured layer of just a few hundred atoms.


Image by Med Ahabchane from Pixabay

Quantum optics seems more akin to magic rather than science. This is only further confirmed by scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics that created the lightest mirror ever from just a few hundred atoms. It’s just 7 microns large and thus completely invisible to the naked eye.

The new quantum mirror is truly tiny with its diameter of just 7 micrometers and a depth of just a few dozen nanometers. Yet, it is incredibly complicated and needs a gigantic 2-ton device with more than a thousand optical components. This device allowed David Wei and his coworkers to create a metamaterial made from a structured layer of a few hundred identical atoms. The atoms in the metamaterial were put into a 2D matrix using lasers giving them very high reflectivity.

Highly reflective tiny mirrors can find application in quantum research – especially when it comes to the relationship between radiation and matter or the physics of photons. And in the future, such mirrors could be used in advanced quantum devices.

As Wei says – their miniature quantum mirrors give them a lot of incredible avenues for research. They could be interesting for quantum optomechanics – a quickly developing field that studies the connection between light and mechanic systems from the quantum point of view. Wei also thinks that their mirrors could allow us to make better quantum memory or a quantum switchable optic mirror. Both of these devices are crucial for devices that deal with quantum information.


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