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CIC nanoGUNE´s research on light covered in Nature Photonics

CIC nanoGUNE´s research on light covered in Nature Photonics

03/03/2021

Researchers from CIC nanoGUNE in collaboration with the Donostia International Physics Center (DIPC) and the University of Oviedo employed a spectroscopic nanoimaging technique to study how infrared nanolight - in form of phonon polaritons - and molecular vibrations interact with each other. The work appears now on Nature Photonics cover.

Light plays an essential role in modern science and technology, with applications ranging from fast optical communication to medical diagnosis and laser surgery. In many of these applications, the interaction of light with matter is of fundamental importance.

The images obtained in this work reveal that the interaction between infrared light and molecular vibrations can be so strong that eventually the material properties are modified, such as conductivity and chemical reactivity. This effect, called vibrational strong coupling, could be used in the future for development of ultrasensitive spectroscopy devices or to study quantum aspects of strong vibrational coupling that have been not accessible so far.  

The cover: Polariton interferometry

Artistic impression of nanoimaging of molecular vibrations coupled to phonon polaritons (blue wave) in a thin layer of hexagonal boron nitride. Nanoimaging is performed by recording the light scattered from a sharp metal tip that is scanned across the sample surface.