The new quantum metasurface can control many of the properties of light at the same time. This was achieved thanks to the creation of a new type of metasern, which can control both the spatio-temporal and quantum properties of transmitted and reflected light. The work of scientists from Harvard University is published in the journal Nature Physics.
Metasurfaces are man-made materials developed at the nanoscale level that can control light scattering with extremely high accuracy. Over the past decade, these materials have been used to create a variety of technological tools – from sensors to lenses and imaging techniques.
In a new work, scientists created a quantum metasurface that can be controlled to have different properties of light scattering. The material allows you to create quantum entanglement for photons.
Under certain environmental conditions, atoms can be manipulated using external electric fields to make them transparent. Recent studies have also shown that a single layer of atoms during such manipulations can reflect light, similar to a conventional mirror.
Using Rydberg interactions that naturally occur in atomic systems, the researchers were able to identify a scheme in which a single layer of atoms simultaneously reflects and transmits light in a quantum superposition. In other words, the resulting quantum metasurface simultaneously becomes transparent and reflects light like a mirror.
In quantum mechanics, entities can coexist in different states – this is called a state of superposition. Our quantum metasurface is a new type of material that can make light coexist in two different states at the same time. This is achieved by manipulating the state of the atoms and the weak laser radiation, which allows them to scatter.
Rivka Beckenstein, lead author of the study