Optical Control through Light Transmission

David S. Bradshaw and David L. Andrews

The simple action of passing laser light through an optically transparent system may enable researchers to control a number of mechanical and optoelectronic processes. These novel interactions of light present an array of useful applications in optical switching, optical binding and fluorescence imaging.



When resonant laser light interacts with matter, it commonly undergoes gains or losses by exchanging energy with the atomic or molecular components of the material. However, a beam for which the material is optically transparent can engage in interactions in which transmitted light suffers no measurable change. In this sense, the beam is passive—yet the material may still exhibit an active optical response: The light-matter couplings that ensue can produce extensive mechanical or optoelectronic effects.

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