Volume 3 Issue 6, June 2007

Volume 3 Issue 6

The dynamic response of a periodic structure to any wave-like excitation — be it optical, acoustic or electronic — is governed by the coupling between the eigenstates of the structure. A complete description of these eigenstates involves not only real space, with which physicists and non-physicists alike are familiar, but the inverse of this space — so called reciprocal- or k-space. Although techniques exist to characterize the electronic eigenstates of atomic crystals in k-space, the same cannot be said for the optical eigenstates of photonic crystals. Rob Engelen and colleagues have now developed a near-field optical microscopy technique that enables them to track the temporal evolution of a pulse of light in k-space from one eigenstate to another as it passes through a complex photonic-crystal structure.

[Letter p401]


  • Editorial |

    It's an old issue — how do we tackle the under-representation of women at all career levels in physics research — but are there any new answers?


Books and Arts

Research Highlights

News and Views

  • News & Views |

    Advanced mirror technology can reduce the intensity of artefacts in the output of high-power laser systems by a factor of 10,000, enabling significantly greater control in the development of laser-driven X-ray and particle sources.

    • Paul Gibbon
  • News & Views |

    In two dimensions, any electron system approaching absolute zero should become insulating — in theory. However, experiments suggest otherwise, and the degree of 'valley polarization' might help resolve the controversy.

    • Jurgen H. Smet
  • News & Views |

    A scheme for dynamically tuning the coupling between a series of resonators and waveguides provides a means of storing light on an integrated photonic chip for longer than is possible with conventional slow-light systems.

    • Mehmet Fatih Yanik
    •  & Shanhui Fan
  • News & Views |

    The need for an intense source of coherent, millimetre-wavelength radiation to heat a fusion plasma and control its instabilities represents a significant challenge in the development of the ITER experimental fusion reactor. This challenge may now have been met.

    • Stefano Alberti
  • News & Views |

    A demonstration of continuous sum-frequency generation of visible light in a microscopic silica resonator could provide a light source for on-chip silicon photonics and applications in the UV.

    • Steven C. Hill
    •  & Dipakbin Q. Chowdhury





  • Futures |

    Excitement is infectious.

    • David Langford