Physicists from the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics (Germany) have created the thinnest and lightest mirror in the world.
This is reported by the scientific publication Phys.org.
Usually, for optical mirrors, polished metal surfaces are used, or glass with a special coating (to improve performance with less weight).
But physicists from Germany have created a mirror, which consists of only one structured layer of atoms (we are talking about several hundred identical atoms).
The atoms are located in a two-dimensional array of an optical lattice.
The new mirror is one of a kind. It is only a few tens of nanometers thick, which is a thousand times less than the width of a human hair. However, this did not affect the quality of the reflection.
The mirror is only about seven microns in diameter (so it can hardly be seen with the naked eye). However, the device on which the mirror was designed is quite large: it has more than a thousand individual optical components and weighs about two tons.
This development is unlikely to be used commercially in the near future. However, the new material has great potential for science.
Thus, further research could deepen the understanding of quantum theories of the interaction of light and matter, as well as help create more efficient quantum devices.
The research results were published in the scientific journal Nature.