A statement from the ANU said when the colour of light was changed, its frequency was altered – a vital process in optical technologies, including telecommunications of the future.
One of the lead researchers, Professor Wieslaw Krolikowski, said the device — a new type of non-linear photonic crystal as thin as a human hair — was a major advance.
“Our device can produce different types of light and in different colours, simply by changing the angle that we shine a laser beam into the device, and it is reusable for different purposes,” said Professor Krolikowski who is from the Laser Physics Centre within the ANU Research School of Physics and Engineering.
His co-researcher, Dr Yan Sheng from the Laser Physics Centre within the ANU Research School of Physics and Engineering, said numerous experiments had been carried out using ultra-short laser pulses to change the internal structure of a non-linear crystal, which was able to convert an invisible light beam into visible light.
“We provide the first proof that it is possible to engineer nonlinear crystals in three dimensions for the purpose of light conversion,” said Dr Sheng.
The team is now looking to make millimetre-sized devices that will be able to convert light more efficiently.
“We will also apply our technique to more popular and less expensive materials, making it more attractive to potential commercial partners,” Dr Sheng said.
The research has been published in Nature Photonics.