For exploring materials right down to the nano-level, researchers often need to construct a complex structure to house the materials – a time-consuming and complicated process. But imagine if there was a way the structure could simply build itself? That is exactly what researchers from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, now present in an article in the journal Nature. Their work opens up new research opportunities. Investigating nano materials can make it possible to study completely new properties and interactions. To be able to do this, different types of ‘resonators’ are often needed – meaning, in this context, an object inside which light bounces around, much like the way sound bounces inside the body of a guitar. Now, researchers working at the Department of Physics at Chalmers University of Technology, have discovered how a previously known form of resonator, made of two parallel mirrors, can be created and controlled in a much simpler way than previously realised.
“Creating a high quality, stable resonator, such as we have done, is usually complicated and requires many hours in the laboratory. But here, we saw it happen of its own accord, reacting to naturally occurring forces, and requiring no external energy input. You could practically make our resonator in your own kitchen – it is created at room temperature, with ordinary water, and a little salt,” explains research leader Timur Shegai, Associate Professor at the Department of Physics, who was himself surprised by the nature of the discovery in the lab.
- The article Tunable self-assembled Casimir microcavities and polaritons has been published in Nature. The researchers behind the new results are Battulga Munkhbat, Adriana Canales, Betül Küçüköz, Denis G. Baranov and Timur O. Shegai.
- The researchers are active at the Department of Physics at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, The Center for Photonics and 2D Materials in Moscow, and the Institute of Physics and Technology, Dolgoprudny, Russia.
- The research was funded by the Swedish Research Council, the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation and the Chalmers Excellence Initiative Nano.