No known material today can resist the flow of light -- its energy is either absorbed by, reflected off, or passed through materials. But Dr. Roichman has devised a new layering technique using special crystals central to the creation of photonic devices. These photonic crystals are arranged to create a path along which light can travel. If they're arranged correctly, she says, the light is trapped along the path.
In Dr. Roichman's approach, different materials are added to absorb or amplify light as required. She is hopeful that the ability to build these devices will transform communications, telescopic instruments, and even medical technology, making them more efficient and powerful.
Shining a light into a bacterium's belly
One project Dr. Roichman is working on tracks the effectiveness of antibiotics. Her improvements to optical microscopy will, for the first time, allow researchers to look at the internal processes within bacteria and see how different types of antibiotics attack them. More than that, her optical tweezers can isolate the bacteria to be studied, handling them without killing them.
Dr. Roichman, whose previous research was published in the journals Applied Optics and Physics Review Letters, notes that HOTs give researchers a platform with infinite possibilities. They give science a valuable tool to reach into the microscopic world -- and their building potential is endless.
|Contact: George Hunka|
American Friends of Tel Aviv University