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Filipino scholar has found new source of coherent light - DOST

Ryan             Balili in his             laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh with his cryogenic             experiments             and set-upMANILA, Philippines — A Filipino scientist currently studying in the United States has found a new source of coherent light, like lasers, which only potentially needs lower power to operate, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said on Wednesday.

In a press statement, the DOST's Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI) said Ryan Balili (OSL Faculty, MSU-IIT Physics Department), together with his adviser David Snoke of University of Pittsburgh, were able to demonstrate that the transition of particles into waves could be done at higher temperature which would require lesser power to generate.

The phenomenon is called Bose-Einstein Condensation (BEC), named after Indian physicist Satyendranath Bose who worked on the statistics of monoatomic ideal gases and Albert Einstein who speculated this macroscopic coherent state

“Einstein proposed that at very low temperatures a certain type of identical particles, now called bosons, would’collapse,’ or condense, into a single quantum mechanical wave.

“However, in Balili’s work, he was able to demonstrate the same phenomenon at higher temperatures using polaritons, an energy particle which exists only in a medium that can be polarized by an electromagnetic wave," the statement explained.

It quoted Balili as saying that the main challenge was making the polariton transition into a BEC even if polaritons exist only for very short times, approximately a few picoseconds.

Nevertheless, Balili and his adviser were able to trap polaritons which turned into a single, spatially compact condensate of gas analogous to atomic BEC.

“One way to think of a polariton BEC is that it is a state of matter that has some of the properties of a laser and some of the properties of a superconductor," the DOST-SEI statement said.

Balili and his group at the University of Pittsburgh said that what they were able to show is that the emitted light of the polariton BEC and its electrons are coherent, which is a property of superconductors that allows it to make electric current flow without resistance and wavelike interference of electrical signals.

He said that the most promising applications of the polaritons BEC are in optical devises which takes advantage of laser-like sources at low-power coherent light sources.

“This may be useful for signaling, switching, and amplification in optical communications," he said.

Balili, a 2002 summa cum laude Bachelor of Science in Physics graduate of the Mindanao State University - Iligan Institute of Technology, is currently taking up his doctorate in Physics at the University of Pittsburgh where he also finished his Master of Science in Physics.

Balili was a scholar of the DOST during his undergraduate years.

Dr. Ester B. Ogena, director of the DOST-SEI, lauded Balili’s work saying his discovery is a manifestation of the caliber of scholars the DOST is getting every year.

“We are the germination box of soon-to-be great names in the science and technology world. Balili is just one of them and every year we get around 3,500 scholars who in the future would propel the Philippines into first world status," she said in the statement.

Ogena expressed optimism that more DOST-SEI scholars would make a mark in science and technology with the implementation of the Accelerated Science and Technology Human Resource Development Program (ASTHRDP) and the Engineering Research and Development for Technology Program (ERDTP) which provides students to proceed to the MS and PhD studies as a scholar.

“We are beefing up our critical mass of scientists and engineers through the ASTHRDP and ERDTP by providing them with scholarships in our top universities," she said.

Ogena avowed to continuously entice students to venture into science careers through promotional programs and scholarship grants.

“We shall be at the forefront of science and technology human resources development and create the necessary critical mass of scientists and engineers the Philippines needs," she said. - GMANews.TV

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