Engineering energy loss provides new features for light absorption

'Loss is ubiquitous in nature, and by better understanding it, we make it more useful'

Rendering of two coupled resonators
Lan Yang and her team have made a discovery that brings new insight to how to exploit different kinds of losses to manipulate an open physical system. (Image: Yang lab)

Natural and manmade physical structures all lose energy, and scientists work hard to eliminate that loss or compensate for it. Optical and photonic devices lose energy through light scattering, radiation or material absorption. In some situations, however, intentionally yet carefully designing loss in open optical devices and systems can lead to unconventional physical phenomena, which inspire novel methods for optical control and engineering.

Lan Yang photo

Lan Yang, the Edwin H. & Florence G. Skinner Professor in electrical and systems engineering at the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, along with a team that includes A. Douglas Stone and his lab at Yale University, uncovered new approaches to manipulating light absorption.

The work was published Sept. 9 in the journal Science. Read more on the engineering website.

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