A breakthrough in rapid polarization switching with an all-optical polarization control could allow faster data transfer and open new areas of nanoresearch, enabling researchers to learn more about unseen nanoscale worlds such as drug chemistry and quantum electronics.

Scientists at King’s College London have developed the ultrafast method of changing the fundamental properties of light with light. 

Current electronic methods used to control polarization are reaching physical speed limits. Now, researchers at King’s have overcome this issue, allowing polarization to be switched at timescales of less than a millionth of a millionth of a second — hundreds of times faster than current electronic methods. 

“The fastest commercially available product operates at a rate of 40 GHz,” said King’s Ph.D. student Luke Nicholls. “We report a switching rate of over 300 GHz — so our metamaterial approach could switch polarization around 7.5 times faster than the best current techniques.”

Read more at https://www.photonics.com/Article.aspx?AID=62569

Author: AOLab
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