Thursday 17 September 2015

Physicists Show ‘Molecules’ Made of Light May Be Possible


Physicists - Building Objects Out of Photons

A team of theoretical physicists from the National Institute of Standards and Technology – NIST, have come up with building objects out of photons and the discoveries indicate that the weightless particles of light can be linked into a kind of molecule having its own peculiar force. The discoveries are build on earlier research which many team members have contributed prior to joining NIST.

 In 2013, collaborators from Harvard, Caltech and MIT had found a way of binding two photons together so that one would sit right on top of the other, overlaid as they tend to travel. Their experimental demonstration was considered an invention since no one had constructed anything by joining single photons, motivating some to imagine that life lightsaber were very near.

In a forthcoming paper in Physical Review Letter, the NIST and University of Maryland based team together with other collaborators had showed in theory thattwo hydrogen atoms are near each other in a hydrogen molecule. Alexey Gorshkov of NIST has commented that `it is not a molecule per se, but one can imagine it as having a similar kind of structure and that they are learning how to build complex states of light which in turn could be built into more complex objects.

Modern Technologies Depend on Light

This seems to be the first time anyone has ever shown how to fixtwo photons a finite distance apart. Binding photons need extreme conditions which are difficult to produce with a plenty of lab equipment. However there are various other reasons in making molecular light humbler than lightsabers but nonetheless useful. Gorshkov states that `lots of modern technologies depend on light from communication technology right to high definition imaging and several of them could be enhanced if we could engineer their interaction between photon.

 For instance, engineers would require a method to regulate accurately the light sensors and Gorshkov says that the findings could make it very easy in the creations of a `standard candle’ which could shine a precise number of photons at a detector. Possibly more important to industry, binding as well as entangling photons would enable the computers in using photons as a means of information processors; a task that electronic tends to switch in the computer to do currently.

Important to Test the New Theory in Practice

This would not only provide a new basis in creating computer technology but it could also be the outcome in substantial conservation of energy. Other data and phone messages which presently tend to travel as light beams via fibre optic cable need to be converted into electrons for the purpose of precession which is an inefficient step that tends to waste a great amount of electricity.

If the transport as well as the processing of the data could be done directly with photons, it would reduce the energy losses. Gorshkov had indicated that it would be important to test the new theory in practice for these as well as other possible benefits.

He adds that `it is a cool new way to study photons and there are massless and fly at the speed of light and slowing them down and binding them, would show us other things we had not been aware of prior to it’.

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