Alan Turing was the first person to demonstrate how stationary periodic patterns could form in biology, but his ideas have been fruitful in other fields. One is pattern formation in continuous-wave-laser-pumped Kerr-active microresonators, which Shu-Wei Huang of UCLA and colleagues have now stabilised via a novel scheme using local-mode hybridisations to set a new record of 45% in power conversion efficiency. Finally, the pattern is turned into terahertz radiation with a plasmonic photomixer for an overall optical-to-THz conversion efficiency of 1.1%. The whole setup can fit on a chip, so would have huge implications for medical imaging, wireless communications and other applications.

Further reading

S-Wei Huang et al. 2018 Phys. Rev. X 7 041002.