Physicists at the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics have pieced together the world’s lightest mirror with just a few hundred of the same atoms,media reported. Although the surface can only be measured with microns and is invisible to the naked eye, this unique device is seen as a powerful new tool for studying quantum optics.
Although the mirror itself is incredibly small, about 7 microns in diameter and only a few tens of nanometers thick, it requires a huge two-ton device and more than a thousand optics to make it. The machine enabled the team to design a man-designed structure, called supermaterials, consisting of a single layer of several hundred identical atoms.
These atoms move in the form of a two-dimensional array of lattice grids formed by interfering with laser beams. This careful arrangement inhibits the diffuse scattering of light and directs it into a stable beam, while at the same time allowing the incident photons to bounce repeatedly between atoms to produce a strong reflection.
This small, light mirror provides strong reflections that open up new possibilities in the field of quantum theory, especially when it comes to the interaction between light and matter and photon physics. It may also make it possible to engineer advanced new quantum devices.