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44 SMT Magazine • June 2016 Bob Dylan wrote: You may be an ambassador to England or France You may like to gamble, you might like to dance You may be the heavyweight champion of the world You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes Indeed you're gonna have to serve somebody Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord But you're gonna have to serve somebody —Gotta Serve Somebody by Bob Dylan, (Slow Train Coming) Who will our educational system serve? Hey, what do YOU say? I'd like to hear your thoughts. SMT Next Month: The STEM Trap Tom Borkes is the founder of The Jefferson Project and the forthcoming Jefferson Institute of Technology. To reach Borkes, click here. THE PRODUCTION ENGINEERING STUDENT AS CUSTOMER Imagine a device that is selectively transparent to vari- ous wavelengths of light at one moment, and opaque to them the next, following a minute adjustment. Such a gatekeeper would enable powerful and unique capabilities in a wide range of electronic, optical and other applications, including those that rely on transistors or other components that switch on and off. Researchers in the University at Buffalo School of Engineering and Applied Sciences recently re - ported a discovery that brings us one step closer to this imagined future. The finding has to do with materials that are periodic, which means that they're made up of parts or units that repeat. Scientists have known since the early 20th century that periodic materi - als have special qualities when it comes to light. Such materials can reflect light, as butterfly wings do, and if you understand the internal structure of a periodic material, you can use an equation called Bragg's law to determine which wave - lengths will pass through the material, and which will be blocked due to reflection. The new UB study shows that a completely periodic material structure is not needed for this kind of predictable reflection to take place. "We have shown that Bragg's law is a special case of a more generalized phenomenon that was discovered in this study and named as a Bloch wave resonance," said Victor A. Pogreb - nyak, an adjunct associate professor of electrical engineering at UB. "This discovery opens up new opportunities in photonics, nanoelectronics, op- tics and acoustics and many other areas of sci- ence and technology that exploit band gap wave phenomena for practical use." "Electrons behave as waves that can also ex- hibit a Bloch resonance, which can be used as a powerful method to control currents in nanoelec- tronic circuits," said Edward Furlani, Pogrebnyak's co-author and a UB professor in the Departments of Chemical and Biological Engineering and Elec- trical Engineering. A key advantage that Bloch wave resonance offers: It enables the blocking of a larger range of wavelengths simultaneously than previously known effects described by Bragg's law. Applica - tions that could take advantage of this broader "band gap" range include white light lasers and a new type of fast-switching transistor. Engineers Discover New Gatekeeper for Light

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