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The Solution To A Century-Old Physics Problem Might Lead To Better Telecommunications And Cloaking Devices

Wave-interference like in this image happens within resonators. EPFL

Wave-interference like in this image happens within resonators. EPFL

During a long period of more than 100 years, it is kind of a concept called the Q factor that has regulated the electronic devices. It is necessary for devices to have a small bandwidth, If they are storing a lot of energy for a long time, or vice-versa. As far as those electric devices, such as lasers, electronic circuits, and medical apparatus, are concerned, this has been a constraint, which we thought it was absolutely. However we were wrong.

By working out an asymmetric and non-reciprocal system, an international team of scientists has developed a way to ignore this Q factor. This set up offered them the approach to supercede the conventional limit of the Q factor by a factor of 1,000 and, they have released their research result in Science. it doesn’t seem there exists a theoretical limit to the time-bandwidth restriction.

As Kosmas Tsakmakidis, lead author from the University of Ottawa and the Federal Polytechnic School of Lausanne in Switzerland, said, It should be regarded as a moment of revelation when they found that these new structures did not feature any time-bandwidth restriction at all, for these systems were quite different from our conventional thinking for decades, and perhaps hundreds of years.

The Q factor comes from the physics of resonators, which are systems oscillating at specific frequencies because of their properties. A resonator that we could see in our daily life people is quartz crystals, applied to both radio transmitters and quartz watches.

The international team constructed a magneto-optic material that plays the role of a resonator, however it doesn’t behave like a classical one. Being applied with the magnetic field, the new system is capable of holding a wave and storing it, and then accumulate energy over time.

Talking of this new system, Hatice Altug, leader of research team from the Federal Polytechnic School of Lausanne, said that their superior wave-storage capacity performance could be actually encouragement for a many potential exciting applications in diverse contemporary and more traditional fields of research.

One of such the potential applications, now already eyed by scientists, is the renovation in fiber optics and telecommunications. The researchers regards these new resonators as possibly great optical buffers, which are able to store data as they go through fiber optic systems. Until now, there are some limitations in this respect.

In the conclusion of his statement concerning their research, Tsakmakidis said that the reported breakthrough was totally vital, for they were providing researchers with a new tool. And the number of applications was limited only by one’s imagination.

At present, some work has been done on a Q-factor-less resonator on-chip microscopy, which would bring breakthrough to medical devices, ways to store energy, and even broadband optical camouflaging, all that would enable an object to be invisible in optical light. So, sometime in the near future, you would wear an invisibility cloak, at that moment you should be aware where the original idea took shape.

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