Mimicking celestial mechanics in metamaterials

D.A. Genov, Shuang Zhang, X. Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

363 Citations (Scopus)


Einsteins general theory of relativity establishes equality between matter-energy density and the curvature of spacetime. As a result, light and matter follow natural paths in the inherent spacetime and may experience bending and trapping in a specific region of space. So far, the interaction of light and matter with curved spacetime has been predominantly studied theoretically and through astronomical observations. Here, we propose to link the newly emerged field of artificial optical materials to that of celestial mechanics, thus opening the way to investigate light phenomena reminiscent of orbital motion, strange attractors and chaos, in a controlled laboratory environment. The optical-mechanical analogy enables direct studies of critical light/matter behaviour around massive celestial bodies and, on the other hand, points towards the design of novel optical cavities and photon traps for application in microscopic devices and lasers systems.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5
Pages (from-to)687-692
Number of pages6
JournalNature Physics
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2009

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2009 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


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