Scientists Use Nanotube Films and Polarized Light to Couple Light and Matter


Scientists use nanotube films and polarized light to couple light and matter, according to a study conducted on April 30, 2018.

This study was conducted by the researchers at the Rice University. Kono and his colleagues have expertise in corralling photons and excitons in solids to form condensed matter in a quantum well. In this study, techniques from earlier studies were combined by the researchers and polarized light was used to trigger the formation of quasiparticles known as polaritons inside the one-dimensional nanotubes in a cavity at room temperature. Polaritons appear when incoming light is polarized in the same direction, as they can only resonate along the aligned nanotubes’ length. When turned 90 degrees, the polaritons disappear progressively.

The polarization angle at which polaritons appear and disappear is known as the exceptional point, which was not considered as important by Kono, physicist and Gao. Dirac points are a characteristic of graphene. It appears where the material’s conduction and valence bands connect to make it a perfect conductor of electricity. In semiconductor materials, the energetic separation between bands determines the material’s band gap. Kono said, “The vacuum Rabi splitting increases as we increase the number of nanotubes. This is evidence that the nanotubes coherently cooperate as they interact with the cavity photons.”

He further said, “We could have matter inside a cavity interacting with the vacuum, and when we trigger the system somehow we destroy the coupling, and suddenly photons come out. That’s an experiment we want to do, because producing photons on demand from a vacuum would be cool.” This study is expected to be beneficial to the scientists who study data storage and the manipulation of light at quantum levels.


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