Nature Photonics reviews promising applications of photonic hooks discovered by TPU physicists

The April issue of the Nature Photonics that is the most influential journal for photonics and optics will publish a review on the phenomenon of photonic hook and its promising applications, generated by scientists from Tomsk Polytechnic University. The scientists reported that they experimentally verified an earlier predicted phenomenon of the photonic hook. This is a new type of curved self-accelerated light beam which is shaped like a hook. 


Photo: Experimental imaging of the photonic hook

Easy generation and physical properties make it promising for application in super-resolution microscopes, for the design of biosensors, and in biological research.

Photo: The cover of the April issue // nature.com/nphoton.ru.

Readers of the April issue will learn that Igor Minin (Tomsk Polytechnic University) and colleagues from the UK (Bangor University) and other Russian universities experimentally verified a new type of curved beam that is a photonic hook. Prior to the discovery of the photonic hook, only the Airy beam and its derivatives as a curved light beam were known. To generate them a rather time-consuming method and complex equipment are required. While generating a photonic hook turned out to be incomparably easier.

The project supervisor, Igor Minin, DSc in technical sciences, SRF at the TPU Division of Electronic Engineering says: 

‘In January 2019, the Applied Physics Letters published an article in which we with colleagues told that we had experimentally verified this curved beam. 

Just this advance is covered in the Nature Photonics. This emphasized the priority of the Russian scientific school in the new field and relevance of obtained results for the scientific community.’

To generate a photonic hook the scientists used microsized dielectric particles of Teflon. The particles were of an unusual cubic shape with the attached prism. Passing through this particle, the photon radiation was curved and took the shape of a hook. This curvature was registered using a sapphire waveguide.

‘This is that simplicity of generating a photonic hook, you need only a radiation source and dielectric particles of an appropriate shape,’ says Igor Minin.

The phenomenon of photonic hook holds promise both for improving the resolution of the most powerful optical microscopes – nanoscopes – and telecommunication devices, biological research. Due to its physical properties, the hook can manipulate molecules, in particular, for search of required ones in biological studies.

The review is already available online at the Nature Photonics.