Thursday, November 25, 2010

Researchers Create a new light source

Scientists have created a completely new light source by getting light particles to act like atoms.

By cooling photons, the light particles condensed so they could behave like a single entity.

Researchers at the University of Bonn have shown that super particles can be made with light.

Albert Einstein and Satyendra Nath Bose thought this was possible back in 1925.

The Bonn researchers proved Einstein and Bose had the right instincts all along.

Why should you care? Well, the discovery could one day shrink electronic devices.

Until now, this behavior has only been seen in atoms. The applications of this physics breakthrough could one day be used to build more powerful computer chips and make lasers that work in the X-ray range.

Nobody has ever created a Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC) with photons before. BECs are usually made with cold atoms of gas.

In the 1920s, it was thought this strange quantum phase of matter existed. If the atoms were cooled to close to absolute zero, then the atoms would be pushed into the same quantum state and they’d act as one.

Zeeya Merali wrote in Nature:
In 1995, two experimental groups independently produced the first examples of BECs with rubidium and sodium atoms. In theory, physicists knew that it should also be possible to form a BEC using particles of light, or photons. But in practice it seemed near impossible because, unlike atoms, the number of photons in an experiment is not conserved.

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