A team of engineers at the Vanderbilt University has developed a new light detector on a silicon chip that can analyze valuable information that is invisible to the human eye. Traditionally, people would require the use of multiple optical elements which can be quite bulky. This new development uses metamaterials or materials that have been engineered to have properties not found in nature.
This brand new innovation has the potential to improve the way we use polarized light for activities such as optical communications, drug screening, surveillance and quantum computing. Although the efficiency of their prototype is not yet sufficient to be commercially viable, these engineers have proven that this kind of approach is viable.