From Berkeley Lab: “Metamolecules That Switch Handedness at Light-Speed”
Researchers Develop Optically Switchable Chiral Terahertz Metamolecules
July 10, 2012
“A multi-institutional team of researchers that included scientists with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has created the first artificial molecules whose chirality can be rapidly switched from a right-handed to a left-handed orientation with a beam of light. This holds potentially important possibilities for the application of terahertz technologies across a wide range of fields, including reduced energy use for data-processing, homeland security and ultrahigh-speed communications.
(Top) Scanning electron microscopy image of optically switchable chiral THz metamolecules, (Bottom) The purple, blue and tan colors represent the gold meta-atom structures at different layers, with the two silicon pads shown in green. (courtesy of Zhang, et. al)
‘Natural materials can be induced to change their chirality but the process, which involves structural changes to the material, is weak and slow. With our artificial molecules, we’ve demonstrated strong dynamic chirality switching at light-speed,’ says Xiang Zhang, one of the leaders of this research and a principal investigator with Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division.
See the full article here.
A U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratory Operated by the University of California