A team at Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light have managed to make two beams of light "touch" each other. Not only is this a breakthrough for physics, but it's a dream come true for many Star Wars fans out there...
We've all pretended to be a Jedi Knight at some point in our lives, waging war against the dark side. But this has always been a distant dream, because the physics of a laser sword combat have been scientifically impossible. Light has always required a large chunk of material as an intermediary to make contact. But with just a few photons and one organic particle, researchers have been able to mediate the light-light interaction between two beams.
So how was this done? The team ran by Vahid Sandoghdar, Director of the Nano-optics Division at the Institute, first cooled the molecules to minus 272 degrees Celsius and made two carefully focussed laser beams.
The test for this molecule to enable interaction between the two beams was for one (the control beam) to change its optical properties and become transparent as the second one (the probe beam) came into contact with it. At this temperature, the test was successful, showing the probe beam switching the molecule to transparent.
While that is all fair and good, there really is something here that could unlock the future of the computer industry. Semiconductor components like the transistor are constantly being miniaturised and sped up – but this can’t happen forever. We will eventually hit the metaphorical wall where it will be physically impossible to miniaturise further.
This is where the idea of a light transistor comes in. Processing information with photons instead of electrons would open the opportunity for more compact and powerful computers. But this is a long ways down the line, as we’re only controlling a few photons at the moment.
As for the future of this research, the team will continue to work towards controlling a light signal with individual photons, minimising the experiment to its absolute smallest form. They also want to embed the molecule onto a nano-optical transistor, to see if it can be wired up as part of electrical circuitry – which would be a brave first step towards processing information in a photonic computer that reads data entirely through light particles.
Another year, another tonne of TV announcements at CES 2017 - but what were the best screens out there in Vegas? I found out and wrote a feature for BBC's Science Focus Magazine!
Everybody hates Blue Monday - the gloomiest day of the year according to research. Well, let's cheer things up with the chance to win a Monster Superstar Hotshot: one of the best bluetooth speakers I've ever tested. To enter, just subscribe to New Rising Media's mailing list.
We all love to take pictures of the starry skies at night. But to achieve the same incredible astronomy photography seen on desktop wallpapers and magazines, it takes some incredibly expensive and cumbersome equipment. That is until now, as the Tiny1 reproduces incredible space pictures with the form factor of a smartphone.
Ever wished you could just shut out the times when your friends decide to watch terrible shows on the TV? Well, with Holosonics Audio Spotlight speakers, now you can - built to project sounds like a beam of light to the person sitting right in front of it.
Way back in October, I wrote a somewhat controversial piece about why the Nintendo Switch is set up for failure - highlighting some key problems the company should avoid if they want to stand a chance against Sony and Microsoft. Did they listen? Let's take a look at what they announced in Tokyo.
When you think of in-store posters, chances are you imagine a simple poster hanging in the window. But Kino-mo are looking to innovate with their brand new Hypervsn technology - bringing 3D holograms to stores.
As the next Snapchat Spectacles location was revealed just outside the T-Mobile arena in Las Vegas, Snap Inc. quickly became one of the most influential companies at CES without actually being on the show floor.
Named ‘Project Alloy,’ Intel’s Virtual Reality hardware is set to up the game by mapping your room and adapting it as part of the video game you’re playing.
Meet Olly - a CES Innovation Award-Winning robot by Emotech which they claim has both “feelings,” and a “personality.” As someone who was equally amazed and terrified when watching Her, I’m going to give this device the benefit of the doubt.
Keeping the CES TV battles alive, Samsung has announced their brand new 75-inch 4K QLED TV - the “Q” meaning a ‘Quantum Dot Technology’ to produce near-true-to-life colour.
I am the Founder and Editor-in-chief of New Rising Media. You can follow me on Twitter @MrJasonEngland.