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Photonic device makes light any color by manipulating individual photons

It's an on-demand color modulator

A new optical device manipulates the frequencies of individual photons to change the color of light on demandNataliGiado/Depositphotos

A new optical device created by engineers at Stanford can easily manipulate light into nearly any color desired. The system uses a series of modulators to fine-tune the frequencies of individual photons to change their color.

The device not only changes their color, but by mixing these photons of different colors to different degrees, a beam of light can be fine tuned into basically any color that’s needed.

The new device is made from a low-loss wire, with a series of rings dotted along it. As photons travel through this wire, they move into the rings where modulators transform their frequency. There can be as many rings as necessary to change the light into the desired color.

A diagram of the new photonics device. The black line represents a wire through which the photons travel, before they pass through rings (orange) that house modulators (green) which change the frequency of the photons and hence their color. The colored bars at each end of the black line indicate the before and after composition of the color of the light.Fan Lab

Here’s an example offered by Michael Irving at New Atlas that helps visualize just how precise the devise is in both controlling photons and their ratios: A beam could start with 80 percent of its photons at a frequency of 510 nanometers and 20 percent at 500 nm, which would make it mostly green. Using this device the beam could be shifted to 73 percent at 500 nm and 27 percent at 510 nm, which would make the light overall more cyan.

The paper describing this research is called “Arbitrary linear transformations for photons in the frequency synthetic dimension.”  The team says that this powerful new tool could have a range of applications in the field of photonics, including communications, quantum computing and AI, and its design should allow for more compact devices.

The research was published in the journal Nature Communications.

Source: Stanford University

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