March 28, 2024 at 9:26 am

New Crystal Can Bend Light Like Gravity And Could Help With 6G Communication Technology

by Trisha Leigh

Source: Shutterstock

There’s a good chance you don’t think too much about gravity on a daily basis, despite everything that it does for you.

Researchers, though, do think about it, and they say that a crystal that was recently created could have some practical applications across the globe.

We’ve proven Einstein’s theory of general relativity over and over again, which is how we know that gravity affects the trajectory of light. This is due to the warp in space-time that makes is act like a magnifying glass.

That’s one reason researchers believed they might be able to create a photonic crystal that creates “pseudogravity.”

A photonic crystal is a material that allows researchers to manipulate any light that passes through it. They’re specifically created to contain a pattern that allows “traffic controllers” that manage the motion of light.

The one in this particular project is called a distorted photonic crystal, and it’s made from silicon. They were able to introduce distortion that simulated the gravitational pull of an object as massive as a black hole.

Senior author and professor Kyoto Kitamura from Tohoku University’s Graduate School of Engineering made a statement about their success.

“We set out to explore whether lattice distortion in photonic crystals can produce pseudogravity effects. Much like gravity bends the trajectory of objects, we came up with a means to bend light within certain materials.”

They used terahertz waves (between infrared and microwaves). These are already used in scientific, medical, and security imaging, can penetrate fabric and plastic, and are a potential source of future high-speed communication.

The ability to guide these waves could provide insights into gravitational physics, like better understanding black holes and the like.

Another of the study’s authors, Masayuki Fujita, says the practical applications are just as exciting.

“Such in-plane beam steering within the terahertz range could be harnessed in 6G communication. Academically, the findings show that photonic crystals could harness gravitational effects, opening new pathways within the field of graviton physics.”

It sounds like this could change a lot of the way we do and understand things in the future.

As with most cutting-edge science, though, only time will tell.

If you think that’s impressive, check out this story about a “goldmine” of lithium that was found in the U.S. that could completely change the EV battery game.