Researchers from the University of Pierre and Marie Curie managed to create a molecular-scale mirror using just 2, 000 atoms. The results of the work were described in the publication Physical Review Letters.
To create the nano-mirror, the team used a thin optical fiber, combining it with a chain of cesium atoms. By carefully placing the light-reflecting cesium atoms in the correct positions, such a small size has been achieved.
By arranging several mirrors in the correct order, it was even possible to temporarily "hold" the light. Thus, the resulting structure can be used to receive and store optical pulses, acting as a kind of optical storage device. The invention may find application in optical circuits and computers of the future, which may well be faster and more efficient than current electrical circuits.