- Written by Qi Wu, Jeremiah P Turpin, Douglas H Werner
Using a combination of the new tools of metamaterials and transformation optics, engineers at Penn State University have developed designs for miniaturized optical devices that can be used in chip-based optical integrated circuits, the equivalent of the integrated electronic circuits that make possible computers and cell phones.
Controlling light on a microchip could, in the short term, improve optical communications and allow sensing of any substance that interacts with electromagnetic waves. In the medium term, optical integrated circuits for infrared imaging systems are feasible. Further down the road lies high-speed all-optical computing. The path forward requires some twists on well-known equations, and the construction of structures smaller than the wavelength of light.