Thursday, May 20, 2010

Postdeadline Frenzy: Black is the new Black

Get ready for the post deadline frenzy beginning at 8:00 pm this evening. Make sure to stretch and warm-up properly as you race from room to room. Some areas that caught my interest when browsing through the abstracts were new spectroscopic techniques, novel sources for trace gas detection and molecular fingerprinting, and how to make something really, really, black.

Many of us at CLEO are interested in building or using light sources, particularly lasers. After all, that's what the "L" stands for in CLEO. However, two papers in tonight's postdeadline session, CPDA5, "Coherent Perfect Absorbers: Time-reversed Laser," and CPDA6, "Darker than Black: radiation-absorbing metamaterials," address either destroying it or fully converting it into another form of energy. The former may be helpful for controlled optical energy transfer, and the latter for optimized energy harvesting in solar cells. Though physically different, both techniques utilize negative contributions of dielectric permittivity (one relies on a negative imaginary part and the other a negative real part).

If you are interested in light absorption, or cool optical analogs to astrophysics, you may also want to check out related work by Evgenii Narimanov, author of CPDA6, using metamaterials to create a propagation medium for EM fields analogous to the curved space-time near a black hole, in this case, an "optical black hole."

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