Magazine article Science News

A Novel Architecture for Excluding Protons

Magazine article Science News

A Novel Architecture for Excluding Protons

Article excerpt

A stack of crisscrossed rods is the kind of structure one can readily imagine building out of pencils or soda straws. And that's precisely the point. It's easy to fabricate, even on a microscopic scale.

Discovered by C.M. Soukoulis and his collaborators at Iowa State University and the Energy Department's Ames Laboratory, this particular structure has just the right geometry to act as a photonic crystal. In other words, it prevents the absorption or emission of electromagnetic radiation at certain wavelengths that fall within an excluded range or band gap.

This discovery suggests a promsing route toward producing microscopic structures that exhibit band gaps at infrared or visible wavelengths. The fabrication of such photonic materials may one day lead to the development of highly efficient lasers and solar cells.

"We're very excited about this structure," Soukoulis says.

This research represents an outgrowth of earlier theoretical work done by Iowa State's Kai-Mung Ho and his colleagues. They predicted that an electrically insulating material having a repeating structural pattern resembling the arrangement of carbon atoms and bonds in diamonds would exhibit a photonic band gap.

This prediction was confirmed when Eli Yablonovitch of Bell Communications Research in Red Bank, N.J., and his co-workers created one version of this geometry by drilling three sets of holes, slanted at specific angles, into the top of a solid slab (SN: 11/2/91, p.277). …

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