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New Superlensing Technique

  1. Sep 5, 2007 #1

    sas3

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    I don’t know if anyone else here seen the article but I found it very interesting.
    Although I am a little confused or maybe I just do not understand the duality of light very well.
    I did not think it was possible to focus light smaller then its own wavelength.
    Maybe someone here can explain this to me.
    Here is a link to the article.
    http://blogs.zdnet.com/emergingtech/?p=632
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 5, 2007 #2
    This sounds like a really interesting concept. If you could focus a laser down past the wavelength of the wave, then a lot of applications could come from this.
     
  4. Sep 6, 2007 #3

    sas3

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    "If you could focus a laser down past the wavelength of the wave"

    That is the part I am confused about how can you make a wave smaller then the wavelenght?

    Is the stuff coming out still photons or is it something else?
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2007
  5. Sep 6, 2007 #4

    mgb_phys

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    The wavelength isn't really the size of the photon - it's just another way of stating it's frequency. Imagine watching a ball bounce up and down as it goes along a road, if it moving along at 2m/s and is bouncing once per second it's 'wavelength' is 2m but the ball is much smaller than this.

    Also this technique isn't focussing the light. There is an odd effect where light reflecting off a surface creates a wave in the surface with a much smaller wavelenght than the light producing it. It is this wave which is being focussed.
     
  6. Sep 6, 2007 #5

    Danger

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    Intriguing. I wonder what scales this will work over. They mentioned optical storage and nanolithography, but would it 'scale up' for harnessing sunlight more efficiently or improving telescope resolution? I figure not the latter, because it changes the nature of the light; an image probably wouldn't survive the transisition.
     
  7. Sep 6, 2007 #6

    mgb_phys

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    Effervescent waves have very small penetration lengths ( order of nm ) and decay exponentially. This is their main use in sensors.

    You coat a mirror with some biological goop with dye molecules on the interesting bit, you bounce a laser off the back of the mirror, the effervescent wave penetrates a couple of nm out into the goop and excites the dyes which fluoresce and you pick that up with a detector. But since the laser was only ever on the back side of the mirror none of the laser light reaches the detector which is the normal problem with excited dye setups.
    This also relies on the very short length of the effervescent wave to only excite dye very close to the surface so you can use it to sample stuff in a liquid or gas volume with very little background - my wife's PhD was on this!
     
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