Interview

  • Interview |

    Fengnian Xia from Yale University shares his opinions with Nature Photonics on the status of research into 2D materials and their prospects for commercial applications.

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    Nature Photonics spoke to Allen Taflove, father of the finite-difference time-domain technique, about the birth of Maxwell's equations and their impact on the world after 150 years.

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    Nature Photonics spoke to Pierre Berini — pioneer of plasmon waveguides — to get some perspective on how nanophotonics has evolved over the past decade and where it is heading.

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    Arno Rauschenbeutel explains to Nature Photonics how atoms help induce a nonlinear π phase shift at the single photon level.

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    Ilya Akimov talks to Nature Photonics about employing trions in semiconductor quantum wells to store optical information.

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    Ori Katz and Sylvain Gigan explain to Nature Photonics how a well-known astronomy technique has been adapted for imaging through turbid media, with great potential for bio-imaging applications.

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    A burst-mode camera developed in Japan called STAMP with a femtosecond frame rate could become a powerful tool for studying ultrafast dynamics. Nature Photonics asked Keiichi Nakagawa about the technique.

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    Etienne Brasselet explains to Nature Photonics that light can exert a counter-intuitive torque on matter.

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    Scientists have transferred coherence from a near-infrared frequency comb laser to the extreme-ultraviolet region with no detectable noise. Jun Ye and co-workers explain that this might impact fields from fundamental physics to nuclear clocks.

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    Oliver Pike explains to Nature Photonics that the so far elusive electron–positron pair production from light may now be possible using existing technology.

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    By injecting high-energy charge carriers (dubbed 'hot holes') into a semiconductor, scientists have succeeded in realizing photodetectors capable of detecting ultralong wavelengths. Unil Perera from Georgia State University in the USA explains how the devices work and how they can be improved.

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    A hollow-core optical fibre filled with warm caesium atoms can temporarily store the properties of photons. Michael Sprague from the University of Oxford, UK, explains to Nature Photonics how this optical memory could be a useful building block for fibre-based quantum optics.

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    Spectral purity can now be transferred from one laser to another with a very different wavelength at an order of magnitude better than previously achievable. Yann Le Coq spoke to Nature Photonics about the new development.

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    Michele Svandrlik and Fulvio Parmigiani, respectively Project Director and Head of Science at FERMI, talk to Nature Photonics about building the first fully coherent seeded free-electron laser that outputs soft X-rays.

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    On-chip quantum interference between integrated photon sources has now become a reality. Mark Thompson spoke to Nature Photonics about the realization of and future outlook for integrated quantum optics.

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    Researchers realized a magnet that can optically switch the polarization plane of light by 90 degrees. Nature Photonics asked Shin-ichi Ohkoshi how his group achieved this feat.

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    Room-temperature, optically pumped GaAs/AlGaAs/GaAs nanowire lasers have been realized. Dhruv Saxena and Sudha Mokkapati from the Australian National University discuss this breakthrough.

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    Researchers have fabricated a voltage-tunable plasmonic crystal in a two-dimensional electron gas that operates at terahertz frequencies. Nature Photonics spoke to Eric Shaner, Greg Dyer and Greg Aizin about the observation of Tamm states at the crystal's edge.

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    Nature Photonics spoke to Anatoly Grudinin, founder of the fibre laser company Fianium, to gain insight into the vicissitudes in the industry over the past decade and future challenges that academia can help solve.

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    Clustering of dark and grey solitons in fibre lasers has been found to induce a turbulent regime similar to that of a rapidly flowing fluid in a pipe. Sergei Turitsyn from the University of Aston, UK, explains.

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    A sensor based on an array of piezoelectric ZnO nanowires on a light-emitting GaN substrate can generate high-resolution images of pressure distributions. Zhong Lin Wang tells Nature Photonics that it could lead to superior touch interfaces for electronic devices.

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    Stéphane Coen and Miro Erkintalo from the University of Auckland in New Zealand talk to Nature Photonics about their surprising findings regarding a weak long-range interaction they serendipitously stumbled upon while researching temporal cavity solitons.

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    A laser with a record low energy cost has now been demonstrated by using a laser cavity based on photonic crystals. Shinji Matsuo of NTT Photonics Laboratories in Japan talked to Nature Photonics about its significance.

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    Magnets are often electrically activated, but recent research has demonstrated various schemes that can control magnetization using light and photocarriers. Nature Photonics spoke to Petr Němec and Tomas Jungwirth about their recent work on a polarization-independent optical-torque approach.

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    Although there is much debate regarding whether graphene is more suitable than metals for use in plasmonics, the useful operational frequency ranges of these materials are complementary. Nature Photonics spoke with Fengnian Xia about his team's recent work on graphene plasmonics.

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    Complete quantum control of an electron spin qubit can be achieved using a long-lived quantum-dot spin qubit coupled to a GaAs-based photonic-crystal cavity. Samuel Carter from the Naval Research Laboratory says that this system could be used as a node in a quantum network.

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    The study of random lasers based on disordered, scattering media has become an active topic of research in recent years. Nature Photonics spoke to Hui Cao from Yale University about developments in the area, potential applications and future opportunities.

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    Capturing the dynamics of atoms and molecules using X-ray free-electron laser pulses requires femtosecond timing between the pump and probe beams. Nature Photonics spoke with Marion Harmand and Marco Cammarata about their progress.

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    Strain in photonic structures can induce pseudomagnetic fields and Landau levels. Nature Photonics spoke to Mordechai Segev, Mikael Rechtsman, Alexander Szameit and Julia Zeuner about their unique approach.

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    Optical coherence theory has a long and proud tradition. Nature Photonics spoke to Ayman Abouraddy and Kumel Kagalwala to learn about their recent work, which may reshape this established field.

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    Researchers can now remove 36 electrons from a xenon atom using a pulse of high-energy photons from a free-electron laser. Nature Photonics spoke with Daniel Rolles to learn about the process and why the ionization is stronger than expected.

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    Joachim Krenn was one of the early pioneers of modern surface plasmon optics, and has almost 8,000 citations to his work. Nature Photonics spoke to Krenn about the field's origins.

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    Silvery fish have evolved an elegant optical scheme for overcoming the Brewster effect, creating broadband, polarization-neutral reflections for any angle of incidence. Nicholas Roberts explained to Nature Photonics how and why they do it.

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    The directional manipulation of spin waves, a long-awaited technique in spintronics, has now been realized by shaping a light pulse. Takuya Satoh from the University of Tokyo talked to Nature Photonics about the technique.

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    Brillouin scattering threatens to limit continued power-scaling for many fibre applications, but sapphire-derived all-glass fibres with large concentrations of alumina may help to eliminate this problem. Nature Photonics spoke to Peter Dragic and John Ballato to learn more.

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    Researchers around the world now have access to a second hard-X-ray free-electron laser facility: the SPring-8 Angstrom Compact Free-Electron Laser in Japan. Nature Photonics spoke to Makina Yabashi and Hitoshi Tanaka from the facility about their achievements and plans for the future.

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    Twisted light beams with different values of orbital angular momentum can be used to provide dramatic increases in the capacity of free-space optical communications. Nature Photonics spoke to Alan Willner at the University of Southern California to find out more.

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    Zhentang Zhao from the Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics spoke with Nature Photonics about how he and his co-workers achieved first lasing in an echo-enabled harmonic generation free-electron laser.

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    Nature Photonics spoke to Kim Ta Phuoc about an extremely bright and compact X-ray and gamma-ray source that exploits laser plasma acceleration and Compton scattering simultaneously.

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    New research suggests that graphene is not a 'miracle material' for metamaterials and plasmonics. Nature Photonics spoke to Philippe Tassin about what makes a good conductor for these applications.

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    Suntech Power is the world's largest producer of solar panels and has delivered more than 20 million photovoltaic panels to more than 80 countries around the globe. Nature Photonics spoke with Stuart Wenham, chief technology officer at Suntech Power, to find out more about its activities and visions.

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    The application of catastrophe theory to high-harmonic generation is creating opportunities for optimizing the spectral intensity of extreme-ultraviolet light and characterizing attosecond pulses, explains Oren Raz from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel.

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    A semiconductor is usually opaque to any light whose photon energy is larger than the semiconductor bandgap. Nature Photonics spoke to Stephen Durbin about how to render GaAs semiconductor crystals transparent using intense X-ray pulses.

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    Laser-driven spinning particles can be used to control the direction of nerve fibre growth. Michael Berns from the University of California at Irvine explains this control mechanism and its potential applications.

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    The combination of microwave photonics and optics has advanced many applications in defence, wireless communications, imaging and network infrastructure. Rachel Won talks to Jianping Yao from the University of Ottawa in Canada about the importance of this growing field.

    • Rachel Won
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    The successful growth of GaN-based LEDs on amorphous glass avoids the size and cost limitations of a sapphire substrate, says Jun Hee Choi from the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology in South Korea.

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    Luminescent solar concentrators have long been hampered by reabsorption losses. Nature Photonics spoke to Noel Giebink about how to circumvent this effect.

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    Optofluidics brings together light and liquids to provide technologies such as fluid waveguides, deformable lenses and microdroplet lasers. Nature Photonics spoke to Frances Ligler about the origins of the field and where it might be heading.

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    Achieving dynamic optical control of exciton polariton quantum flow could provide a deeper understanding of quantum behaviour and inspire new types of device, says Daniele Sanvitto from the Istituto Nanoscienze in Italy.