Rainbows on the Nanoscale

Guest_Jim_* - December 12, 2012 07:05AM in Science & Technology

The white light we are basked in every day is made up of every color in the visible spectrum, and nothing more beautifully demonstrates this than a rainbow. Devices such as monitors and solar panels also demonstrate this as the panels only absorb certain colors and monitors have use just a few colors to represent them all. Now researchers at King's College London have found a way to add rainbows to displays and solar panels in order to improve their abilities.

Instead of the traditional prism or diffraction grating to break light into its colors, the researchers have designed special nanostructures to trap the different colors wherever they wish. This allows the structures to reverse the order of the rainbow, which typically has red on the outside and blue on the inside. Also the researchers found the colors could be isolated to different sides of the nanostructure, instead of having them all on the same face.

This ability to separate and trap individual frequencies of light should be quite useful for increasing the viewing angles of a monitor and optimizing solar panels. Instead of having to manipulate the angle of the solar panel to give it the most time to absorb different frequencies, trapping the rainbow this way will allow the angle to remain fixed, without sacrificing efficiency.