An illustration of magnets. Yayimages.

Scientists Trap Light Inside Magnets: The Gateway to Advanced Tech?

Trapping light within magnetic materials could significantly boost their inherent qualities.


In a groundbreaking study at the City College of New York, Vinod M. Menon and his team unveil the heightened intrinsic properties of magnetic materials when light is confined within. Their findings suggest potential leaps for magnetic lasers, magneto-optical memory tools, and even quantum transduction applications.

Exciting Layers: Scientists Trap Light Inside Magnets

Published in Nature, the Menon-led research discusses a special layered magnet that houses powerfully tethered excitons, or quasiparticles known for their formidable optical interactions. The result? A magnet that can ensnare light, without external help.


Dr. Florian Dirnberger, the study’s primary author, noted the optical reactions of this magnet to magnetic events surpassed typical magnets by several degrees. “The light ricochets inside the magnet, heightening interactions,” he explained. Illustrating the effect, he added, “When subjected to an external magnetic field, the material’s near-infrared reflection shifts so drastically it practically transforms its hue. That showcases a profound magneto-optic reaction.”

Beyond the Norm: Light and Magnetism

Vinod Menon emphasizes that typically, light doesn’t resonate powerfully with magnetism. “That’s precisely why tech applications reliant on magneto-optic impacts often call for intricate optical detection systems,” he said.

Jiamin Quan, a co-author, shed light on real-world implications. “Current tech uses of magnetic materials largely stem from magneto-electric interactions. With these robust magnetism-light interactions unveiled, visions of magnetic lasers become feasible. We might even revisit erstwhile concepts of optically steered magnetic memory.”


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Written by Ivan Petricevic

I've been writing passionately about ancient civilizations, history, alien life, and various other subjects for more than eight years. You may have seen me appear on Discovery Channel's What On Earth series, History Channel's Ancient Aliens, and Gaia's Ancient Civilizations among others.

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