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Transparent materials can temporarily absorb light

Transparent materials can temporarily absorb light

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Photo: MIPT

Date : Nov 30, 2017 03:20 PM

The discovery breaks the intuitive understanding of transparency

The international group of researchers including scientists from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) found an unusual property of transparent materials. According to the calculations, even an absolutely transparent plate can completely absorb light if its intensity increases in a certain way.

«Scientists managed to break the intuitive idea of absorbing materials and make the structure of an absolutely transparent material look like an ideally absorbing» — the MIPT press service told.

A perfect absorption materials are those that can completely convert the light stream falling on them into other types of energy, including thermal one. Coal, pigments in black paint, special arrays of carbon nanotubes almost completely absorb light.

Theoretical calculations indicate that transparent materials can behave unusually if we direct a beam of light to them, the intensity of which increases exponentially. Researchers believe that as long as the intensity increases, the energy will be completely «locked» in a layer of transparent material. Reducing the brightness will cause the energy to be emitted again.

In the future, the discovery can enable creating optical memory elements, capable of storing optical information.

Scientists from the Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden), the ITMO University, the University of Texas at Austin were involved. The results of the study are published in Optica.

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