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Optical Materials Bending the Rules, Shaping Our World

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By playing with the chemistry and optical engineering of materials, surprising photonic properties can be revealed. The potential societal benefits keep scientists striving for the next big breakthrough.

MARIE FREEBODY, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR

From the emergence of diverse 2D materials (perovskites for efficient solar cells) and twisted bilayer graphene (superconductive at a “magic angle”) to the boom in polymer science and the promise of quantum photonics, materials science is rapidly evolving. In the process of research, intermediary results sometimes surprise and can lead researchers to explore avenues that differ from their original intent. Materials research is vast and prone to unexpected changes in direction. More than 40 years ago, Corning scientists developed a highly pure optical glass that could transmit light over long distances. The material — optical fiber — would become instrumental in a world-changing technological achievement: the internet. The fibers that form its backbone are also a critical component of semiconductor lasers and microprocessors, which together have revolutionized communications. In the process of research, intermediary

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Published: May 2020
Glossary
optical materials
Optical materials refer to substances or compounds specifically chosen for their optical properties and used in the fabrication of optical components and systems. These materials are characterized by their ability to interact with light in a controlled manner, enabling applications such as transmission, reflection, refraction, absorption, and emission of light. Optical materials play a crucial role in the design and performance of optical systems across various industries, including...
nanophotonics
Nanophotonics is a branch of science and technology that explores the behavior of light on the nanometer scale, typically at dimensions smaller than the wavelength of light. It involves the study and manipulation of light using nanoscale structures and materials, often at dimensions comparable to or smaller than the wavelength of the light being manipulated. Aspects and applications of nanophotonics include: Nanoscale optical components: Nanophotonics involves the design and fabrication of...
Featuresoptical materialsCorningnanophotonicsmetamaterialsquantum photonicssurface plasmon polaritonsplasmonic lensespolaritonspolymersresponsive polymersconjugated polymerssoft roboticspolymeric robotslight-driven microroboticsphase-change materialsPCMstransparent PCMsfiber optics

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