In one hour, surface coating inactivates virus that causes COVID-19

Door knobs, light switches, shopping carts. Fear runs rampant nowadays when it comes to touching common surfaces because of the rapid spread of the coronavirus. A Virginia Tech professor has found a solution. Since mid-March, William Ducker, a chemical engineering professor, has developed a surface coating that when painted on common objects, inactivates SARS-CoV-2, the

Quantum body scanner? What happens when vector vortex beams meet scattering media

Propagate light through any kind of medium — be it free space or biological tissue — and light will scatter. Robustness to scattering is a common requirement for communications and for imaging systems. Structured light, with its use of projected patterns, is resistant to scattering, and has therefore emerged as a versatile tool. In particular,

A new path for electron optics in solid-state systems

Electrons can interfere in the same manner as water, acoustical or light waves do. When exploited in solid-state materials, such effects promise novel functionality for electronic devices, in which elements such as interferometers, lenses or collimators could be integrated for controlling electrons at the scale of mirco- and nanometres. However, so far such effects have

Physicists use oscillations of atoms to control a phase transition

The goal of “Femtochemistry” is to film and control chemical reactions with short flashes of light. Using consecutive laser pulses, atomic bonds can be excited precisely and broken as desired. So far, this has been demonstrated for selected molecules. Researchers at the University of Göttingen and the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry have now

Geometry of intricately fabricated glass makes light trap itself

Laser light traveling through ornately microfabricated glass has been shown to interact with itself to form self-sustaining wave patterns called solitons. The intricate design fabricated in the glass is a type of “photonic topological insulator,” a device that could potentially be used to make photonic technologies like lasers and medical imaging more efficient. Topological materials,

Laser technology: The Turbulence and the Comb

It is a very special kind of light, which can be used for important measurements: so-called frequency combs play a major role in laser research today. While the light of an ordinary laser only has one single, well-defined wavelength, a frequency comb consists of different light frequencies, which are precisely arranged at regular distances, much

Metasurface opens world of polarization

Polarization, the direction in which light vibrates, is invisible to the human eye. Yet, so much of our optical world relies on the control and manipulation of this hidden quality of light. Materials that can manipulate the polarization of light — known as birefringent materials — are used in everything from digital alarm clocks to