A Temporal Supersymmetry

Illustration of a new fundamental symmetry in electromagnetism, acoustics and elasticity laws: a temporal supersymmetry. (Source: UPV)

According to Carlos García Meca and Andrés Macho Ortiz, researchers at the Nano­photonics Techno­logy Center in Valencia, Spain, this new symmetry allows the conser­vation of the linear moment between drama­tically different physical systems. This paves the way to designing pio­neering optical, acoustic and elastic devices, including invisible omni­directional, polari­zation-inde­pendent materials, ultra-compact frequency shifters, isolators and pulse-shape trans­formers.

“These devices allow us to unusually modify different properties of light signals inside photonic circuits to process the spread of information. This is vital in communi­cation systems. Moreover, we can adapt the func­tionality of those devices to the require­ments at any time, as they are dyna­mically confi­gurable,” explained Carlos García Meca. For designing these new devices, the key lies in changing the refraction index, which in this case is not generated in space but in time. “The Super­symmetry technique tells us how to vary the refraction index of an object to have the light completely trans­mitted, avoiding undesired reflections,” said Andrés Macho Ortiz.

The property of non-reflection is parti­cularly useful for designing new photonic circuits. “Its imple­mentation allows us to increase the speed of communi­cations inside and makes them more compact and confi­gurable without the signal that transports information bits being reflected back,” explained Carlos and Andrés. In general, the reflection of materials whose pro­perties vary in time does not depend on the direction of light propa­gation. Therefore, “the absence of reflection in the proposed materials is linked to a total trans­parency, which results in the concept of omni­directional invisi­bility: whatever the direction of light hitting those materials is, their presence is undetectable,” concluded the scientists.

The disco­very of symmetries in the nature is a cornerstone in physics that allows us to find the conser­vation laws governing the universe. For example, electric charge, energy and mass conser­vation – coming from symmetries in physical laws governing electro­magnetism, thermo­dynamics and chemistry – has allowed humans to have the ability to develop this tech­nology. Excep­tionally, super­symmetry was originally conceived in quantum physics as a hypo­thetical symmetry between particles that could explain all inter­actions in nature: nuclear forces, gravity and electro­magnetism. (Source: NTC-UPV)

Reference: C. García-Meca et al.: Supersymmetry in the time domain and its applications in optics, Nat. Commun. 11, 813 (2020); DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-14634-0 

Link: Nanophotonics Technology Centre, Universitat Politècnica de València, Valencia, Spain

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