Discovery of Cnr-Polimi, soon ultra-fast optical nano-converters controlled by light

Designed and built a nano-antenna smaller than a thousandth of a millimeter capable of transforming the color of light, controllable through the light itself. The work paves the way for new devices for sectors such as fiber optic telecommunications or quantum computers and for the development of new miniaturized optical devices operating at very high speed, for applications not only in the telecommunications field. The study by the Nano and Ifn institutes of the National Research Council and the Milan Polytechnic was published in Acs Nano. The new technology conceived by the researchers of the institutes of Nanosciences (Nano) and Photonics and Nanotechnologies (Ifn) of the National Research Council (Cnr) and of the Politecnico di Milano, together with the University of Brescia and the Universit√© de Paris, it is based on the so-called optical nanoantennas. The researchers explain that these are very thin cylinders of semiconductor material, designed to absorb wavelengths of visible light. Unlike radio waves, which have wavelengths of a few centimeters to a few meters and are transmitted and received with antennas of this size, visible light, the researchers explain, “is an electromagnetic wave with wavelength much shorter – less than a thousandth of a millimeter – and requires antennas – called nanoantennas due to their size – enormously smaller: 100 times thinner than a hair “. “This process is of great interest in various application sectors, from telecommunications, where it is used to transfer information from one transmission channel to another, to night vision devices based on the conversion of infrared thermal radiation into visible light, to laser sources” says Eva Pogna, a young CNR-Nano researcher. Giuseppe Della Valle, coordinator of the Horizon 2020 Metafast Project – Metasurfaces for ultraFast light Structuring – this discovery “could open to the development of a new class of ultra-fast miniaturized photonic devices based on nonlinear effects, of application interest in various fields, from optical fiber telecommunications. to the quantum computer “.

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