On May 25, 2017, a team of researchers from the North Carolina State University have come up with a new technique to control light with electric fields. With this new technique, which is suggested to be similar to the technique used in providing computing capabilities to computers, a light may be controlled to be focused or spread and weak or strong.
New Technique to Expand Scope of Applications of Light
Researchers anticipate that just as computers have influenced our lives and have altered our way of thinking, this discovery will also alter our way of watching. This new technique is pegged to widen the scope of applications of light. To put this in perspective, it may shape a ray of light into arbitrary patterns, which will find usage in goggle-free VR projectors and projectors.
Controlling Light by Changing Refractive Index
Controlling light with electric fields is difficult since photons, the fundamental unit of light, are neutral by charge. Instead, the light will be controlled by regulating the refractive index of materials. This can be a big challenge, however, the more one can control the refractive index of a material, the better control one can have the light rays that makes interaction with the material.
The technique permits to alter the refractive index for visible in certain semiconductors by as much as 60 percent. For the development of this technique, they employed a class of atomically thin semiconductor materials known as transition metal dichalcogenide monolayers, which includes tungsten sulfide, molybdenum sulfide, and tungsten selenide.