Scientists are looking to reinvent mirrors! At least according to research being done at Los Alamos National Laboratory, investigators are looking towards creating flat-panel technology that are compact, versatile, and better adapted for modern communication technologies.
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"Our new reflectors offer lightweight, low-profile alternatives to conventional antennas. This is a potential boon for satellites, where minimizing weight and size is crucial," said Abul Azad, of the MPA-CINT group at Los Alamos National Laboratory. "The panels could be easily incorporated onto surfaces of buildings or terrestrial vehicles as well."
Mirrors are known to be reciprocal. For example, if you look into the bathroom mirror, you will see your reflection and “if you can see someone reflected in it, they can see you too”. The flat-panel technology can break reciprocity design of traditional mirrors and convert it into a one-way mirror. The new reflector design can be controlled electronically which means its characteristics can be reorganized quickly.
"We have demonstrated the first dynamic metasurface capable of achieving extreme non-reciprocity by converting microwaves into plasmons, which are electric charge waves on the reflector's surface," said Diego Dalvit, of the T-4 group at Los Alamos. "This is key to controlling the way the reflectors function."
The research can bring new applications such as adaptive optics that can account for distortions that disrupt signals or disrupt one-way wireless transmission or novel antenna designs. The nonreciprocal design can prevent antennas from picking up echoes originating at outgoing broadcasts and protect delicate circuitry from damaging signals that can come towards them.
Source: Science Daily