Opening of scientists from Russia recognized major breakthrough in Photonics this year

© Fotolia / Klaus The.Fiber optic cableOpening of scientists from Russia recognized major breakthrough in Photonics this year© Fotolia / Klaus The.

Three-dimensional metamaterial created by Russian scientists and which allows to control the propagation of light and electromagnetic waves without loss of energy was among the main scientific discoveries this year, according to the magazine Optics & Photonics News.

«Thanks to three-dimensional insulators, we can reproduce the same behavior of electromagnetic waves, which has previously been technically unattainable. Today it is impossible to create an optical waveguide without surface defects. Because of them, the signal gradually fades, and at some point it is impossible to catch. With the help of topological systems, we can avoid emerging optical losses,» explains Alexander Khanikaev, Professor of the City University of new York (USA).

Each year the journal Optics & Photonics News, a professional publication for physicists studying the properties of light and the creation of photonic devices, describes three dozen of the most important and breakthrough scientific discoveries made by scientists in this field of science.

This year, the number of such breakthroughs have got a device created at the University ITMO in Saint-Petersburg. Using theoretical developments Khanikaev, Alexey Slobozhanyuk and his colleagues created the world’s first three-dimensional topological insulator that can drive traffic light.

This word scientists understand the special material, whose surface can conduct current, but its insides remain insulators or semiconductors. Physics quite a long time trying to accommodate them and for the transmission of light and other electromagnetic waves, however, it is hampered by two things – the complexity of the optical topological insulators and high energy losses inevitably occur in the course of their employment.

In 2015, scientists from the International research center for nanophotonics and metamaterials of the ITMO University, together with colleagues from the Australian national University is the first experimentally realized topological compact structure in which it is possible to control the localization of light on a very small scale.

«The work began with the study of one-dimensional structures. In fact, this chain of nanodisks in which the electromagnetic field is localized at a particular end. My colleague Alexander Poddubny has proposed a theoretical idea, then we did an experiment in microwaves and optics together with Ivan and Anton Sinewy by Samuseva,» says Slobozhanyuk.

Later, Russian scientists used the ideas of Khanikaev to create two-dimensional and three-dimensional version of such a topological insulator, the theoretical description of which was published in the prestigious scientific journal Nature Photonics.

«We experimentally implement three-dimensional structure is much more complicated, but Alexey Slobozhanyuk and his colleagues from ITMO University is actively working on it. Now Alex is preparing to receive a PhD in Australia and then he will return to the University ITMO to develop a new scientific direction. I support his decision. It is very important that young scientists saw the prospects of development here, not only abroad,» says Yuri Kivshar, co-Director of the Center for nanophotonics and metamaterials of the ITMO University and Professor at the Australian national University.