Light dancing on glass

New type of material lets light travel across its surface without interruption

By Stephen Ornes, 12:33 PM May 15, 2013

This image, taken with a powerful microscope, shows tiny, individual crystals of bismuth telluride. A new structure made from this material lets light travel easily and without interruption along its surface. Credit: A13ean/Wikipedia

Light can’t always get from one place to another with ease. It may be absorbed, as by dark objects. It may be reflected, as by a mirror. And it may be scattered, or reflected in all directions. Now, scientists have shown that a new type of structure allows light to travel along its surface with ease. No scattering. No reflecting. And no interruptions.

Scattering can be a problem when light has to do a job, such as carry information in fiber-optic cables. Such cables, typically used in hig...

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