Scientists Have Inverted Optical Waves Using a New Type of Surface: The Hyperbolic Metasurface

Scientists Have Inverted Optical Waves Using a New Type of Surface: The Hyperbolic Metasurface
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Development in technology continues to impress us, as scientists in Spain have created a new material that inverts light waves.

The Hyperbolic Metasurface

This is the name of the material that has been developed to invert light waves.

Normal light waves have an outward propagation, in circular or convex wavefronts, similar to the ripples we see from a stone which gets tossed into the water. So, scientists went ahead and searched for specially engineered surfaces that would allow the production of inverted optical waves.

Inverted light waves could be very useful for a lot of optical devices, offering a precise control of the optical waves.

Scientists in Spain have developed a new material, a so-called hyperbolic metasurface, that inverts light waves. The technology could give researchers more precise control of optical waves and could be incorporated into a variety of optical devices.

In a news release, Javier Alfaro – PhD student (nanoGUNE Cooperative Research Center, Basque, stated that: ‘on such surfaces, called hyperbolic metasurfaces, the waves emitted from a point source propagate only in certain directions, and with open, or concave, wavefronts’.

With the metasurface constraining the path of light waves, it’s possible to make wavelengths smaller and get propagated in certain directions. These unique light waves are called: ‘hyperbolic surface polaritons’.

Creating The Hyperbolic Metasurface

The latest hyperbolic metasurface created by the scientists at nanoGUNE is made from boron nitride, a 2D material that looks like graphene.

This tech will be very useful in tiny sensors and nanotechnology that creates optoelectronic devices.

For the hyperbolic metasurface, scientists used a technology that can be applied to other materials and, according to researcher Saül Vélez, the tech could help creating different ‘artificial metasurface structures with custom-made optical properties’. They used electron beam lithography technology and etched nanoscale textures on very thin flakes of boron nitride.

For more information, you can check out the study, which was published this week in the journal Science.


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