Using an innovative metasurface, researchers have created a tiny device able to bend light to create synchrotron radiation.
Typically, generating synchrotron radiation requires an extremely large facility the size of several football stadiums. To help make the technology a bit more accessible, the team from the University of Michigan and Purdue University printed a metasurface made up of a microscopic gold antenna on a lithium tantalate crystal. When pulses of light were sent through the antenna pattern, the light was bent in a way that generated synchrotron radiation.
The team hopes to improve the device so that it can produce synchrotron radiation at a single terahertz frequency, the sources of which are used to study molecular behavior or scan objects for hidden items.