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I am into photonics research, and have been searching about this topic in vain, but almost nothing from Google shows up. So i turned here for some light.

Do you guys know any material that changes its transparency when a laser (or light) illuminates from its side?

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Can you define "side"? Are you looking for a material which changes its absorptivity in one axis only when illuminated from a different axis? I tend to doubt that even hyperboic, aka metamaterials, can demonstrate such a behavior.

As you may know, there a variety of organic dyes which are used as either saturable absorbers or saturable transmitters. In either case, there's a two-photon absorption process which puts the material into an excited state and as a result the transmissivity changes drastically. Fast-transition material which is highly transmissive in the saturated/excited state is used for passive Q-switched lasers, for example. At the other end of the time-spectrum are the materials used for photochromic eyeglasses. However, in all these cases, the absorptivity (and its change with illumination) is isotropic.

But seeing as I can't even think of a material whose absorptivity (exclusive of polarization effects) is a function of the direction of the light rays, I doubt you can get what are looking for.

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  • $\begingroup$ Yes Carl, that was exactly what I am looking for, a material which changes its absorptivity in one axis only when illuminated from a different axis. In case, are there any material combination that could act the same way? $\endgroup$
    – Jones G
    Commented Aug 14, 2015 at 1:51

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