New York: In a breakthrough, researchers led by an Indian-origin scientist have discovered half-light, half-matter particles in atomically thin semiconductors made of a 2D layer of atoms.
The research improves the prospects of developing computing and communication technologies based on quantum properties of light and matter.
The atomically thin semiconductors consisted of two-dimensional (2D) layer of molybdenum and sulfur atoms arranged similar to graphene.
Researchers from City College of New York led by Dr Vinod Menon sandwiched the 2D material in a light trapping structure to realise the composite quantum particles.
"Besides being a fundamental breakthrough, this opens up the possibility of making devices which take the benefits of both light and matter," said Menon.
For example one can start envisioning logic gates and signal processors that take on best of light and matter. The discovery is also expected to contribute to developing practical platforms for quantum computing.
"What is so remarkable and exciting in the work by Vinod and his team is how readily this strong coupling regime could actually be achieved," said Dr Dirk Englund, a professor at MIT whose research focuses on quantum technologies based on semiconductor and optical systems, and who was not involved in the study.
"They have shown convincingly that by coupling a rather standard dielectric cavity to exciton-polaritons in a monolayer of molybdenum disulphide, they could actually reach this strong coupling regime with a very large binding strength," he said.
Menon's research team included City College PhD students, Xiaoze Liu, Tal Galfsky and Zheng Sun, and scientists from Yale University, National Tsing Hua University (Taiwan) and Ecole Polytechnic-Montreal (Canada).
The study appears in the journal Nature Photonics.