The light was trapped in an atom during an experiment, thus, laying the foundations for building even more miniaturized devices and much more powerful sensors. Particles of light have in fact been imprisoned in graphene, the material of the future which is as thin as an atom and which brought the Nobel Prize for physics for Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov.
Graphene is a supermaterial of high conductivity and which represents the future of technologies on the planet. However, its secrets are just starting to be revealed as more and more studies focus on it.
The research was conducted by scientists from 3 countries and Graphene Project sponsored by the EU
Published in the journal Science, the results have been obtained in Spain, at the Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO), in Barcelona.
The recent research was conducted in collaboration with the Portuguese University of Minho, the US Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and some of the centers involved in the Graphene Project promoted by the European Commission.
“Having reached the extreme limit of the confinement of light could lead to new devices of tiny and unprecedented dimensions”, noted one of the managers of the Graphene Project, Andrea Ferrari.
The study was conducted to verify this principle and researchers successfully created a graphene device capable of guiding the light
The result is a test of this principle, a very first step towards smaller and smaller devices capable of guiding and controlling light.
“Graphene surprises us – no one thought it would be possible to confine light to a single atom and new applications are now possible,” said the research coordinator Frank Koppens.
The tiny graphene device has been obtained by alternating different layers of an insulating material such as boron nitride and graphene nitride, which is able to guide the light in the form of plasmons, which are defined by science as oscillations of electrons that interact very much with the light.