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Photonics gets a shock to its system. (Lasers & Optics).

Bending, twisting, and altering the path of light is nothing new, but how it is accomplished varies. Mirrors are usually the device of choice, however a team of researchers from MIT, Cambridge, Mass., have recently shown that shock waves could also be a viable method.

Evan Reed, along with his colleagues, used a computer simulation to show that shock waves aimed at photonic crystals generate a divergence in the spacing of the crystal's structure. The induced change caused a Doppler shift and a narrowing of bandwidth. The result was a shift 10,000 times greater than usual and was marked by the resulting color change. According to Reed, this simulation may have important benefits in the fields of telecommunications where fiber optic cables carrying light (at varying frequencies) could be tuned with shock waves to allow inefficient frequencies to be converted. He goes on to say, "There are many physical systems that increase the bandwidth of light, but to our knowledge no existing classical systems are capable of narrowing the bandwidth of any lightwave," which may have dramatic effects on the creation of solar powered devices.

MIT

617-253-1000

www.mit.edu

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Title Annotation:researchers use shock waves to alter photonic crystals
Publication:R & D
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2003
Words:191
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