A Nanyang Technological University professor and researchers from Cinna's Zhejiang University have decided to take a big step in using photons to transmit information and energy that may lead to the applications in optical computers, lasers, as well as optical devices.
The research paper, named "Realisation of a three-dimensional photonic topological insulator," which was published in Nature, mentioned that distinct from other insulator materials, topological insulator materials are able to transport electric signals without dissipation.
NTU's Associate professor Zhang Baile said that the three-dimensional or 3D topological insulators "have important capabilities, including the ability to channel topological surface states along with all possible spatial directions."
Over the years, the researchers have tried to build 3D topological insulators for photons which have various applications in optical devices.
A team from NTU's School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences and China's Zhejiang University used a stack of thin plastic sheets embedded with metal antennas acting as tiny electromagnetic resonators and created the world's first 3D photonic topological insulator.
However, it should be noted that as per the study, the newly created 3D photonic topological insulator is limited to low-frequency electromagnetic waves such as microwaves.
But the researchers are now targeting optical frequencies like those of visible light for applications in optical computer chips, lasers and other optical devices.