Francisco Javier García de Abajo

Institut de Ciències Fotòniques

The transformation of electromagnetic energy into matter represents a fascinating prediction of relativistic quantum electrodynamics that is paradigmatically exemplified by the creation of electron-positron pairs out of light. However, this phenomenon has a very low probability, so a conclusive demonstration of conversion of photons into matter has proved to be elusive. Dr. Valerio Di Giulio and ICREA Professor Javier García de Abajo, bot at ICFO, have recently demonstrated through state-of-the-art theoretical methods combining nanophotonics and particle physics that the interaction between gamma-rays and polaritons yields a higher pair-production cross sections compared with previously postulated mechanisms. This work opens an unexplored avenue toward generating tunable pulsed positrons from nanoscale regions at the intersection between particle physics and nanophotonics.