Bending Light

UTEP Lab Develops Groundbreaking Lattice


By Lisa Y. Garibay

Inside UTEP’s Electromagnetics (EM) Lab, where Associate Professor Raymond Rumpf, Ph.D., works alongside a dedicated group of students, light is being controlled in ways never before possible – ways that could change the way we do things every day.

Rumpf and the graduate students he mentors took on a challenge that has been eluding leading researchers: take a cheap, manmade latticework and use it to channel light beams better and more abruptly than ever has been done before.

The students not only accomplished this feat, they also broke the record for the world’s tightest bend of an unguided optical beam.

The team is now exploring ways to use this technology to replace metal wires in computer circuit boards, which could potentially transfer information at a much higher and faster rate – the speed of light, in fact.

A related technology will also significantly improve antennae in cell phones for faster internet connections and much longer battery life.

“We have some new partners and some very exciting new device concepts beyond just bends that may prove to be even more game-changing and revolutionary,” Rumpf said.