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Researchers have exploited the twisty nature of topological physics to produce a high-quality beam of laser light — a step that could lead to the first practical application of this burgeoning field. A team of physicists describes its device, and the theory behind the technology, in two studies1,2 published on 1 February in Science.

The demonstration “brings topological photonics substantially closer to real applications”, says Marin Soljačić, a physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge.

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Category: Science