(PennToday.edu) Researchers at Penn’s School of Engineering and Applied Science have created a new and exotic form of an exciton-polariton, one that has a defined quantum spin that is locked to its direction of motion. In a study recently published in Science, the researchers found that, depending on the direction of the quasiparticle’s spin, these helical topological exciton-polaritons move in opposite directions along the surface of a newly developed topological insulator, materials with a conductive surface and an insulating core, that was also developed as part of this study. The new research opens up new opportunities and future applications into new photonic devices.
Finding ways to both achieve and control the right combination of properties, such as mass, speed, or direction of motion, would enable these types of particles to be more broadly used.
The researchers also found that this approach works at warmer, more user-friendly conditions, with this study conducted at 200 Kelvin, or roughly -100F, as compared to similar systems that operate at 4K, or roughly -450F.

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