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Physicists continually strive to break boundaries in light control. Recent device conceptions, such as invisibility cloaks, slow light waveguides, and all-optical circuits, tame light and mold its path in ways unimaginable some decades ago. A potential new frontier where two types of photonic media—one-dimensional photonic crystals and hyperbolic metamaterials—are combined into something called a “photonics hypercrystal” [1] has now been proposed by Evgeni Narimanov from Purdue University, Indiana. In theoretical calculations, he has demonstrated that light waves confined to the surface of a photonic hypercrystal would borrow individual merits from photonic-crystal-like and metamaterial-like surface waves. These results open a new regime of metastructure designs where light waves are controlled synergistically on two entirely different length scales.

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