A team of scientists from the Imperial College London claims that a new form of light can be created by binding photons to a single electron. This could combine the properties of both, resulting in circuits that work with packages of photons instead of electrons.
The study, which was published online on Aug. 5 in the journal Nature Communications, states that we know that light only interacts with electrons on a material’s surface and inside it. Now, the research team found that it could also interact with only one electron on the material’s surface. This would mean that light will follow the path of the electron and trace the surface of the material instead of simply travelling in a straight line like what we are used to.
The researchers modeled the interaction between the photons and electrons around a nanoparticle. The team describes the nanoparticle as a small sphere made of topological insulator that measured below 0.00000001 metres in diameter.
“The results of this research will have a huge impact on the way we conceive light. Topological insulators were only discovered in the last decade but are already providing us with new phenomena to study and new ways to explore important concepts in physics,” points out researcher Vincenzo Giannini.
Further investigations are still required but according to Giannini, this study could also enable researchers all over the world to study the quantum physical phenomena on a visible scale. The quantum physical phenomena govern all particles smaller than atoms.
Moreover, Giannini says that the quantum phenomena is not only invisible to the naked eye, it is only viewable at very small objects that have been cooled. However, if their research will see more progress, this could open the way to observing the quantum phenomena at only room temperature with the need for supercooling.