Researchers develop way to control speed of light, send it backward

Phys.org  April 4, 2019 Controlling the group velocity of an optical pulse typically requires traversing a material or structure whose dispersion is judiciously crafted. Alternatively, the group velocity can be modified in free space by spatially structuring the beam profile. A team of researchers in the US (University of Central Florida, Purdue University) has demonstrated precise and versatile control over the group velocity of a propagation-invariant optical wave packet in free space through sculpting its spatio-temporal spectrum. By jointly modulating the spatial and temporal degrees of freedom, arbitrary group velocities are unambiguously observed in free space above or below the […]

Unlocking the untapped potential of light in optical communications

Phys.org  March 8, 2019 The optical vortex carries the orbital angular momentum of light and can be used to multiplex signals by assigning each signal to a light wave of different momentum. Researchers in Japan designed and fabricated an orbital angular momentum multiplexing/demultiplexing module that could take five independent signals as input. Using a combination of two tiny circuit structures, called a star coupler and an optical-vortex generator, each of the five signals is “encoded” with a unique optical angular momentum. The output signal consists of a combination of the five signals, and the receiver circuit carries out the multiplexing […]