Belgians develop world’s first light-twisting laser
Friday, 22 May 2020
The campus of the Free University of Brussels (VUB). Credit: Belga
A team of scientists including researchers from the Free University of Brussels (VUB) has developed the first meta-surface laser that produces superchiral light.
Such light rotates around its own axis, spreading like a helix in a spiral. It uses an ultra-thin surface to which small cubes are applied via nanostructures that are 1,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair.
The small blocks determine what happens to the light and, by interacting with the surface, the laser can produce “twisted”, angularly pulsed, ultra-thin light.
This is the first time that scientists have perceived superchiral light with such high purity.
“By using this light, we can manipulate microstructures in a completely new way,” explained Vincent Ginis, a researcher at the VUB. “Twisted light can drive micro-equipment to generate a current and to mimic centrifuges, where conventional physical and mechanical systems can no longer be used because they are too large,” he said.
“Different industries and research fields need this super-swirl light to improve their processes, including the food, computer and biomedical industries,” he says.
Scientists from the Universities of Witwatersrand (South Africa), Harvard (USA), Singapore and CNST (Italy) also participated in the research.