Sunday, July 10, 2011

German researchers invent super light

In coming to cool and concentrate all the grains of light, German researchers have created "super photons." This unusual physical object would burn more finely than the laser microchips.

Experimental prowess is great. Almost unbelievable. A team of physicists from the University of Bonn has managed to create a physical object whose novel theory, however, assumed the existence for nearly a century: it is a Bose-Einstein condensate made of photons. To put it in a (more) simple, they managed to cool the grains of light until a temperature close to absolute zero in a space so small they eventually behave like one large particle. This is called "super-photon". This discovery, which disrupts the world of experimental physics, the subject of a sensational publication in Nature magazine.

Until now, physicists were convinced that "condense" the photons would prove impossible. A theory developed by Satyendra Bose and Albert Einstein Nase in the 20s provided yet the existence of a particular state of matter near absolute zero (- 273 ° C) at which the atoms but also the photons could access. This state called "condensed" provided that the components of the subject properties would align with those of neighbors. After the first experimental evidence in 1937, the first gas condensates were created artificially in 1995.

"A spectacular work of physics"

Achieve the same result with photons then held the elusive grail. These particles tend to disappear more quickly as the temperature decreases. Achieve as much cool was a challenge. Experimental deception of the German team is to meet the challenge offered to them. They used a dye placed between two mirrors. This chemical compound is cooled able to capture the photons sent by the scientists before the spit, much colder, to the concave reflective surfaces. This geometry allows to concentrate the particles of light in a very specific point. The remarkable simplicity of the system was left stunned the Nobel Prize in Physics Wolfgang Ketterle that evokes the website of Nature, "a dramatic work in physics."

Is it possible to imagine applications for super-photons? At this point, we should remain cautious. German experimenters, however, believe that their innovative technology will help to create a new type of lasers, far more accurate than all existing ones. A laser "super light" is so accurate that it would reach a new level of miniaturization in electronic chips, or silicon wafers. The road ahead before this type of instrument is born, however, still seems long.

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