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Rice Unveils Method For Tailoring Optical Processors

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Gold discs tuned to capture the energy from two incoming beams of light can produce output of a third color.

Rice University researchers used a new method for arranging nanoparticles in geometric patterns to create an optical device in which incoming light can be controlled directly.

Credit: Yu-Rong Zhen/Rice University

Rice University researchers have developed a method for arranging metal nanoparticles in geometric patterns that can act as optical processors that transform incoming light signals into output of a different color.

The researchers used the method to create an optical device in which incoming light could be directly controlled with light via a process known as four-wave mixing.

The researchers say their disc-patterning method is the first that can produce materials that are tailored to perform four-wave mixing with a wide range of colored inputs and outputs. "That means not only can we send in beams of two different colors and get out a third color, but we can fine-tune the arrangements to create devices that are tailored to accept or produce a broad spectrum of colors," says Rice professor Naomi Halas.

She says processing information with light rather than electricity could lead to computers that are both faster and more energy efficient. "The methods used to create this device can be applied to the production of a wide range of nonlinear media, each with tailored optical properties," Halas says.

From Rice University
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