Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Technology
Networks
Scientific Communities
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Optical Vortices on a Chip

Published: Monday, October 22, 2012
Last Updated: Monday, October 22, 2012
Bookmark and Share
An international research group has demonstrated integrated arrays of emitters of so called ‘optical vortex beams’ onto a silicon chip.

Contradicting traditional conception, light in such beams does not propagate in straight rays. Instead, its energy travels in a spiral fashion in a hollow conical beam shape. The beams therefore look very much like a vortex or cyclone, with its light rays ‘twisted’ either left-handed or right-handed.  In theory, there is no limit to how twisted the light rays can be.

In quantum mechanics, this feature is associated with the ‘orbital angular momentum’ (OAM) of photons – photons in such beams can be thought to orbit around the beam axis, somewhat similar to the movement of planets around the Sun or electrons around a nucleus.

When such light interacts with matter, it asserts a rotational force (a torque) on the matter; therefore it can be used as so called ‘optical spanners’ in addition to ‘optical tweezers’, which can rotate as well as trap microscopic particles or droplets. Different degree of twist can also be used to transmit information – allowing more information to be carried by a single optical signal, and increasing the capacity of optical communications links.

Light beams at the same frequency but with different OAM values can be used to transmit different streams information. Single particles of light (photons) can use these different degrees of twist to represent quantum information, where a single photon can be twisting both clockwise and anti-clockwise at the same time. Applications are also being developed in using such light for imaging and sensing purposes. For example some molecules are chiral - they look the same under normal optical microscopes until illuminated by optical vortex beams with different degrees or directions of twist.

Conventionally the generation of such beams relied on bulk optical elements such as plates, lenses, and holograms. These are good for research but can be inconvenient for many applications, in particular where large numbers of such beams are needed at high packing density.

In contrast, the new emitters invented at Bristol are only a few micrometres in size and thousands of times smaller than conventional elements. They are based on silicon optical waveguides and can be made using standard integrated circuit fabrication technologies.

Siyuan Yu, Professor of Photonics Information Systems in the Photonics Research Group at the University of Bristol, who led the research, said: “Our microscopic optical vortex devices are so small and compact that silicon micro-chip containing thousands of emitters could be fabricated at very low costs and in high volume.

“Such integrated devices and systems could open up entirely new applications of optical vortex beams previously unattainable using bulk optics.”

These devices are readily interconnected with each other to form complex and large arrays in photonic integrated circuits, and could be used for applications including communications, sensing and microscopic particle manipulation.

Dr Mark Thompson, Deputy Director of the Centre for Quantum Photonics at the University of Bristol, added: “Perhaps one of the most exciting applications is the control of twisted light at the single photon level, enabling us to exploit the quantum mechanical properties of optical vortices for future applications in quantum communications and quantum computation.”


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,000+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 4,400+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Autism Genes Are In All Of Us
Study suggests that genetic risk contributing to autism exists in all of us.
Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Genome Studies Identify Lifestyle Risks for Diseases
Genome wide association studies (GWAS) scan the entire genome in order to pinpoint genetic variants associated with a particular disease.
Wednesday, February 17, 2016
Ocean Acidification Makes Coralline Algae Less Robust
Ocean acidification (the ongoing decrease in the pH of the Earth’s oceans, caused by the uptake of CO2 from the atmosphere), is affecting the formation of the skeleton of coralline algae which play an important part in marine biodiversity, new research from the University of Bristol has found.
Wednesday, February 10, 2016
Gene Variation Identified for Teen Binge-Eating
Researchers have identified a gene variant which can lead to teenage binge eating, they hope that their work will inform the development of future preventative measures.
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
What Causes Immune Cell Migration To Wounds
Study shows triggers which lead immune cells to react and respond to wounded sites.
Friday, May 29, 2015
Fighting Prostate Cancer with a Tomato-Rich Diet
New research suggests that men who eat over 10 portions of tomatoes a week have an 18% lower risk of developing prostate cancer.
Thursday, August 28, 2014
Breakthrough Shows How DNA is ‘Edited’ to Correct Genetic Diseases
An international team of scientists has made a major step forward in our understanding of how enzymes 'edit' genes, paving the way for correcting genetic diseases in patients.
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Deciphering the Role of Fat Stem Cells in Obesity and Diabetes
New study will examine stem cells to pinpoint how excess fat is stored, potentially paving the way for new treatments to combat obesity-linked diseases.
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Molecular Biology Mystery Unravelled
Machinery responsible for the entry of proteins into cell membranes.
Saturday, February 22, 2014
Beauty and the Lab: Scientists Reveal the Art of Science
From a heart-shaped cell nucleus to a 3D molecular syringe, creative scientists have revealed the beauty found in complex and technical research.
Monday, December 16, 2013
New Swine Influenza Project to Better Understand Virus Transmission
The Pirbright Institute in Surrey has been awarded £4.4 million to work with researchers from universities on a long-term study on the transmission of swine influenza.
Friday, December 13, 2013
Global Carbon Dioxide Emissions to Reach 36 Billion Tonnes in 2013
Global emissions of carbon dioxide from the combustion of fossil fuels will reach 36 billion tonnes for the year 2013 – a level unprecedented in human history.
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Human Neural Stem Cells Could Meet the Clinical Problem of Critical Limb Ischemia
New research has shown human neural stem cells could improve blood flow in critical limb ischemia through the growth of new vessels.
Monday, November 25, 2013
Bristol Spearheads UK’s Role in €4 Million Synthetic Biology Project
The University of Bristol has been awarded a share of a €4million (£3.3million) European Union grant to improve public awareness of synthetic biology.
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
North Atlantic Atmospheric Circulation Increases Mountainous Weather Systems and River Flow in Upland Britain
The North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) is the most important type of climatic variability in the northern hemisphere.
Friday, August 09, 2013
Scientific News
Releasing Cancer Cells for Better Analysis
A new device developed at the University of Michigan could provide a non-invasive way to monitor the progress of an advanced cancer treatment.
Releasing Cancer Cells for Better Analysis
A new device developed at the University of Michigan could provide a non-invasive way to monitor the progress of an advanced cancer treatment.
Apricot Kernels Pose Risk of Cyanide Poisoning
Eating more than three small raw apricot kernels, or less than half of one large kernel, in a serving can exceed safe levels. Toddlers consuming even one small apricot kernel risk being over the safe level.
Cell Transplant Treats Parkinson’s in Mice
A University of Wisconsin—Madison neuroscientist has inserted a genetic switch into nerve cells so a patient can alter their activity by taking designer drugs that would not affect any other cell.
Understanding Female HIV Transmission
Glowing virus maps points of entry through entire female reproductive tract for first time.
Genetic Markers Influence Addiction
Differences in vulnerability to cocaine addiction and relapse linked to both inherited traits and epigenetics, U-M researchers find.
Lab-on-a-Chip for Detecting Glucose
By integrating microfluidic chips with fiber optic biosensors, researchers in China are creating ultrasensitive lab-on-a-chip devices to detect glucose levels.
A lncRNA Regulates Repair of DNA Breaks in Breast Cancer Cells
Findings give "new insight" into biology of tough-to-treat breast cancer.
COPD Linked to Increased Bacterial Invasion
Persistent inflammation in COPD may result from a defect in the immune system that allows airway bacteria to invade deeper into the lung.
Detection of HPV in First-Void Urine
Similar sensitivity of HPV test on first void urine sample compared to cervical smear.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,000+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,400+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!