Using the tools of physics and design principles, AMOLF researchers study complex matter, such as light at the nanoscale, living matter, designer matter and nanoscale solar cells. These insights open up opportunities to create new functional materials and to find solutions to societal challenges.
Quantifying topological protection of light on a chip
Photonic topological insulators are currently at the forefront of on-chip photonic research due to their potential for loss-free information transport. Realized in photonic crystals, they enable robust propagation of optical states along domain walls. But how robust is robust? In order to answer this, researchers from AMOLF and TU Delft quantified photonic edge state transport using phase-resolved near-field optical microscopy. The findings provide a crucial step towards error-free integrated photonic quantum networks. The results were published in the journal Light Science & Applications.
Dynamic risk management in cell populations
Much like investors on the stock market, cell populations prepare for changes in the environment by spreading the risk. The tool box they use contains a repertoire of sensory receptors on the surface of individual cells. These receptors can be tweaked to make individual members of the population responsive to different environmental signals. It was thought that cells could only modify this diversity relatively slowly, by producing new receptor proteins or degrading them. Scientists now report the discovery of a mechanism that enables cell populations to tune their diversity much faster, by a combination of physical and chemical interactions between existing proteins.