Two distinct technologies- metamaterials and quantum cascade structures- have been combined for the first time to create a novel and very thin form of light detector.
The delicate interactions between electrons and light make for valuable technological characteristics. Ultra-thin systems of semiconductor layers, for example, can turn electrical voltage into light. They can also be used the other way around, to serve as light detectors.
But until now, it has proved difficult to couple light into these layered semiconductor systems. At Vienna University of Technology, scientists solved this problem by using metamaterials. Metamaterials have the ability to manipulate light in the terahertz range, due to their unusual microscopic structure.
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