South Korean research team contributes to discovery of photon avalanches

  • Published : Jan 14, 2021 - 17:17
  • Updated : Jan 14, 2021 - 17:17
The cover of the latest edition of Nature features "photon avalanche," a new phenomenon found by a joint research team from South Korea, the US and Poland. (Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology)

A joint research team from South Korea, the US and Poland has discovered a new phenomenon called “photon avalanche,” which is expected to open up new ways of research on fields that use optical technology.

According to the research team from the Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology, it has found that absorption of a single photon in some materials could trigger a chain reaction that produces a large burst of light.

This special type of upconversion called photon avalanching can occur in nanoparticles that contain lanthanide-doped nanoparticles, the research added.

The research team calls the new class of crystalline material avalanching nanoparticles.

While using those particular nanoparticles, the research team could increase the upconversion efficiency up to 40 percent from 1 percent achieved while using other types of nanoparticles.

Researchers here expect the new discovery could be used in a wide range of industry sectors, including biohealth, autonomous driving, the internet of things, satellites and other fields that utilize optical technology. They added it would first try to apply the technology to increase efficiency of solar cells.

The study was the cover feature of the latest edition of Nature, the world‘s leading science journal.

By Shim Woo-hyun (
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