Scientists Discover A Previously Unknown Form Of Light

Posted: Aug 6 2016, 1:12am CDT | by , Updated: Aug 6 2016, 1:19am CDT, in News | Latest Science News


Scientists Discover a Previously Unknown Form of Light
Artist's impression of light trapped on the surface of topological insulator. Credit: Vincenzo Giannini

New form of light involves the properties of both light and electron and could revolutionize computing and quantum physics

Scientists have discovered a new form of light that could revolutionize quantum mechanics.

The new light form has been created by combining the fascinating properties of both light and elections which have been considered a prime target for scientific research for many years. So, binding light with a single electron could lead to a new type of light that can boost the efficiency of both particles.

In normal conditions, light can not affect the behavior of a material if it does not contain a whole lot of electrons on its surface. But with new method light could interact with just one electron on the surface. The important role here is played by a topological insulator – a material that works as an insulator in its interior but can conduct electricity on its surface or can allow electrons to move along the surface. And researchers have used it to model their concept.

Researchers from Imperial College of London have showed that the unique blend of light and electron enables both to overcome their shortcomings. For instance, light can travel only in a straight line but when attached to electron, it would instead follow other than normal paths and could trace the surface of the material. Electrons, on the other hand, tend to stop when they experience a defect but can continue traveling onwards with the aid of light.

If this method could be applied to quantum computing, it may produce similar results there and could help overcome the imperfections in the system. 

“The results of this research will have a huge impact on the way we conceive light,” said lead researcher Vincenzo Giannini. “Topological insulators were only discovered in the last decade, but are already providing us with new phenomena to study and new ways to explore important concepts in physics.”

The idea is currently unobservable but researchers believe it can be demonstrated using current technology and can open up a new avenue in understanding quantum physics and computing. 

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.




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