IIT Kharagpur collaborates with Rochester varsity, Paves way for futuristic technology

KOLKATA: A research by IIT Kharagpur faculty in collaboration with the University of Rochester and ICTS, Bengaluru has paved way for futuristic technology development. Calling it a path breaking research, an IIT Kharagpur statement today said it has opened up possibilities for the development of quantum devices. Prof Sajal Dhara who joined the Department of Physics at IITKGP in 2016, has discovered along with his collaborators negative mass particles of polaritons which are composed of half-light and half-matter.

Mass of such polaritons thus created is lighter than the mass of an electron by a factor of 0.00001, the statement said.

Prof Dhara and his collaborators at University of Rochester and ICTS (International Centre for Theoretical Sciences) have discovered new insights on the mass of such particles which will lead to a giant leap towards futuristic technology development, the statement said. The research has been featured in the esteemed Nature Physics journal in their October 2017 issue.

The collaborators involved in this work are Dr C Chakraborty, Dr K M Goodfellow, Dr L Qiu, Dr T A O Loughlin, Prof G W Wicks, Prof A N Vamivakas, all from University of Rochester and Prof Subhro Bhattacharjee from ICTS which is a centre of Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR).

Elaborating on the research, the statement said, scientists can artificially create a combined particle state that is made of half-light and half-matter, known as polaritons.

Light is an electromagnetic wave but it also shows particle properties with zero mass. On the other hand, matters are made of atoms with certain mass, the statement said.

“The area of research is itself a promising field for the development of a future generation of technologies at room temperature,” he said.

The aim is to look for a particle other than electron to build advanced devices. This will witness a giant leap from smart electronic to smart polaritonic devices promising to increase manifold the speed and storage capacity at which tomorrow’s devices like laptops and smart phones work. Polaritonics is an intermediate regime between photonics and sub-microwave electronics.

Dhara has received substantial funding from MHRD, ISIRD (International Society of Invertebrate Reproduction and Development and the SERB (Science & Engineering Research Board) Ramanujan Fellowship research grant for developing his lab facilities at IIT Kharagpur.

One of the long term goals of his ‘Nanoscale Optoelectronics lab (set up for understanding the optical, electronic, and quantum properties of novel solid state nano-structures by nanoscale device design) would be to investigate the light-matter interaction for the development of futuristic technologies and basic science.