Sometimes it takes decades before the practical significance of a scientific breakthrough comes to light. This is certainly the case for the laser – a device whose theoretical foundations were laid out by Albert Einstein in 1917, some 40 years before the first working model was built. In fact, it took another ten years – and the discovery of laser-carrying optical fiber – for this technology to emerge from the lab and have a significant impact on our everyday lives.
Today, the unique properties of laser light are transforming the way we live. We have entered an era in which many of the devices we use every day – from DVD players, to bar-code readers, to our Internet connections – are activated not by electrons, the fundamental units of electricity, but by photons, the fundamental units of light.
Photonics – a scientific discipline that uses light to manipulate, transfer and store information – is poised to provide ultra-fast components for everything from communications to computers to life-saving medical technologies. At the same time, it is giving researchers the precision tools they need to solve some of the most basic and intractable mysteries of science.
At Bar-Ilan University, experts trained in physics, physical chemistry and electrical engineering are creating pioneering techniques that use light to tease more and more information out of molecules and atoms. They are characterizing the fundamental interaction between light and nano-optic circuits. And they are fine-tuning the theories that will be built into the “blueprints” for tomorrow’s super-fast photonic devices and optical technologies.
From faster computers, to "smart" eyeglasses, to improved protocols for national security, Bar-Ilan scientists are leading the charge, by focusing great minds on photonics’ potential to light up our world.