Princeton University Invention # 06-2217
Researchers in the Department of Physics, Princeton University have developed an optical device known as an icosahedral photonic quasicrystal. The significance of such a device is that it makes it possible to control which bands of photons are passed through and which are blocked. The studies performed at Princeton confirm that these devices may be excellent candidates for fully three-dimensional photonic band gap materials as published in Nature (see reference below).
The device developed at Princeton consists of a quasicrystalline array of two materials with different dielectric constants (or, equivalently, different indices of refraction), which are superior to conventional photonic crystals in numerous photonic applications, including compact optical circuits, optical filters, efficient antenna substrates, mirrors, stealth mirrors, dielectric resonators, semi-conductors, patterned materials, photonic sensors and incandescent lamps.
In the past, the best method for controlling and channeling light utilized a photonic crystal which has a periodic array of dielectric material, whereas the novel idea here is a photonic quasicrystal with quasiperiodic arrays instead. The novelty of a quasiperiodic array is that it is possible to have other, more spherical symmetries which facilitates the formation of nearly equal stopgaps in all directions. For example, the icosahedral quasicrystal has the symmetry of a soccer ball.
This invention enables the use of quasicrystalline structures for optical, mechanical, electrical and magnetic purposes. In some cases the devices could also be used for manipulating, controlling, modulation and directing waves including electromagnetic, sound, spin, and surface waves, for a pre-selected range of wavelengths propagating in multiple directions.
Princeton is currently seeking industrial collaboration to commercialize this technology. Patent protection is pending.
Man, W., Megens, M., Steinhardt, P., Chaikin, P.M., Experimental measurement of the photonic properties of icosahedral quasicrystals, Nature, Vol. 436/18 August 2005.
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