World’s thinnest optical mirror created

(ORDO NEWS) — Physicists from Germany have developed the thinnest and lightest optical mirror that is invisible to the human eye, and its thickness is a thousand times less than that of a human hair – it consists of one layer of atoms. It is noted that the reflection in it is perfectly visible.

The description is in the journal Nature.

Typically, mirrors use polished metal or specially coated optical glasses to improve performance and reduce weight. And physicists from the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics have created a new mirror metamaterial consisting of a single layer.

At the same time, the atoms in it are located in a special array of an optical lattice, which is formed using laser beams.

Scientists have demonstrated for the first time that an optical mirror can be formed from just one structured layer of several hundred atoms. But the reflection from it is so strong that it can be seen even with the naked eye.

It is noted that the new mirror has a regular pattern of atoms and a distance between the wavelengths of the modeling lasers, which suppresses light scattering. Also, due to the close and discrete distance between particles, an incoming photon can be reflected between them several times before being reflected. Both of these effects contribute to very strong reflections.

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