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Theories of 160 years of eminent scientists help the discovery of light waves



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Credit: Petr Kratochvil / Public Domain

The researchers discovered a previously unknown type of light wave, based on the pioneering work of a 19th century Scottish scientist.


The equations developed by the famous mathematician and physicist James Clerk Maxwell have helped reveal how crystals can be manipulated to produce a distinctive light waveform.

The phenomenon, recently called Dyakonov-Voigt waves, could have a range of useful applications, such as the improvement of biosensors used to detect blood samples or develop fiber optic circuits that transfer data more efficiently.

Scientists and engineers at the University of Edinburgh and the Pennsylvania State University made the discovery by badyzing how light, which travels in the form of waves, interacts with certain natural or artificial crystals.

They discovered that Dyakonov-Voigt waves occur in a specific region, known as an interface, where the crystals meet another material, such as oil or water. The researchers say that these waves can only be produced using certain types of glbad whose optical properties depend on the direction in which the light pbades through them.

The team identified the unique properties of the waves using mathematical models that incorporated equations developed by James Clerk Maxwell. Since the mid-1800s, research on how light interacts with crystals has been based on the work of Maxwell, who studied at the University of Edinburgh since the age of 16.

Dyakonov-Voigt waves, named after two leading scientists, decrease as they move away from the interface, a process called decay, and travel only in one direction, the team found. Other types of surface waves called decay faster and travel in multiple directions.

Dr. Tom Mackay, from the Faculty of Mathematics at the University of Edinburgh, who jointly led the study, said: "Dyakonov-Voigt waves represent a step forward in our understanding of how light interacts with complex materials and offer opportunities for a range of advanced technologies. "

The study is published in Proceedings of the Royal Society A.


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More information:
Tom G. Mackay and others, Dyakonov – Voigt surface waves, Proceedings of the Royal Society A: mathematics, physical sciences and engineering sciences (2019) DOI: 10.1098 / rspa.2019.0317

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The theories of 160 years of eminent scientists help the discovery of light waves (September 3, 2019)
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