There has been a shift in the fundamentals of how light waves interact. Scientists at the Technical University of Vienna have succeeded in manipulating the scattering of light waves, and have created a new novel design for undistorted light waves.
Until recently, the paradigm within science has been that when a light wave penetrates a material that it is usually changed drastically. In effect, as soon as a light wave hits an obstacle, its constant intensity is immediately destroyed due to scattering.
This fundamental restriction has now been lifted with the most recent research developments from Vienna. Konstantinos Makris and Stefan Rotter from the Technical University of Vienna working together with Ziad Musslimani from Florida State University, as well Demetrios Christodoulides from the University of Central Florida, have been able to calculate and show materials which allow new kind of light waves to not scatter on its surface. Essentially, these specially designed non-hermitian materials remain completely unperturbed (see Fig. 2).
Fig. 1 - A wave penetrates a material: usually this leads to wave interference, to darker and brighter areas. Source: TU Wien
Fig. 2 - Specially designed non-hermitian materials remain completely unperturbed. Source: TU Wien
Makris and Rotters research developments are reminiscent of so-called ‘meta materials’, which have a special structure that allows them to diffract light in unusual ways. In effect, these meta materials allow for the light to bend around the object, so that the object becomes invisible.
Makris notes that the “…the material is completely invisible to the wave, even though the light passes through the material and interacts with it.”
Routine fabrication of meta materials is still not in sight, however, the research conducted at TU Vienna, has enabled the advance of invisible meta materials, which will certainly find applications in many industry fields.