In 1977, Star Wars brought the holographic technology to the screen for the first time. An unprecedented visual feast shook the world. However, why has such cool holographic technology or related optical equipment failed to enter our daily lives for so many years? This is due to the fact that this technology is achieved by changing the propagation path of light through magnetic fields, but its enabling materials are very expensive, brittle, and have poor light transmission. Some materials can only work in low-temperature vacuum environments.
According to reports, researchers from the University of Michigan and the Federal University of San Carlos, Brazil, have developed a low-cost nanoparticle suspended in a colloid that can work at room temperature and can replace traditional materials with significantly lower costs. .
The new nanoparticles make it possible to modulate light using magnetic fields. Potential applications include self-driving cars, space communications, and optical wireless networks.
At present, expensive rare earth metals such as germanium, antimony and tellurium have been applied to the use of magnetic fields to control the propagation path, speed, and light intensity of light or light signals. These precious metals have been used commercially in high-speed fiber optic internet cables. However, the high cost and operating temperature requirements of these elements make it difficult to obtain large-scale applications.
Cost-effective solutions that can achieve polarization-controlled magnetic fields at room temperature can bring 3D displays, holographic projections, and the new generation of LiDAR (Lidar) to be widely used in the mass market. LiDAR is one of the main technologies that bring â€œeyesâ€ to self-driving cars.
"Many companies and laboratories have used magneto-optical technology to develop exciting prototypes," said Nicholas Kotov, professor of chemical engineering at the University of Michigan, who heads the project. "But their technology is still limited by the amount of magneto optics needed." Basic rare earth materials. It's like playing the Rubik's Cube. It's finished, but the other side is chaotic."
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