Forschungs- & Entwicklungsinformationsdienst der Gemeinschaft - CORDIS


TRANSFORM OPTICS Berichtzusammenfassung

Project ID: 320034
Gefördert unter: FP7-IDEAS-ERC
Land: Israel

Mid-Term Report Summary - TRANSFORM OPTICS (Transformation optics: cloaking, perfect imaging and horizons)

In this project we bridge the science of light, optics, with Einstein's general theory of relativity in what is known as transformation optics for testing analogues of astrophysical phenomena in the laboratory and for making novel optical devices.

Transformation optics grew out of ideas for invisibility cloaking devices and exploits connections between electromagnetism in media and in geometries. Probably the most important practical application of connections between media and geometries is perfect imaging, the ability to optically transfer images with a resolution not limited by the wavelength. On the other hand, probably the intellectually most important application of connections between media and geometries lies in the quantum physics of the event horizon, which, for the first time, can be studied in the laboratory.

In this project we have made advances towards the theory and the manufacturing of perfect-imaging devices. We have also built up an experiment to test the quantum physics of the event horizon. We made significant progress, but we will need the second half of the funding period to reap the fruits of the project.

We also discovered a new application of transformation optics: Casimir forces. These are the forces between electrically neutral but polarisable particles and materials at close distances. They arise from fluctuations of the quantum vacuum and play an important role in the physics of the nano-world. We found that ideas from transformation optics are the key to describing such forces in materials with varying electromagnetic properties.

Our research may lead to novel devices and perhaps to new insights on the nature of the quantum vacuum in astrophysics.

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