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.
What happens in Vegas gets blogged about in January… Extremely thrilled to announce that New Rising Media is making the trip out to cover CES for the first time ever. But this isn’t just any CES, it’s the 50th anniversary of this legendary technology show.
Probably the most requested Netflix feature has now become a reality. In their new update, you can now download movies and TV shows for offline viewing.
People who signed that petition – you’re too late. The Investigatory Powers Act has just been given Royal Assent, meaning that UK Government is soon to become one of the most advanced surveillance states on the planet.
Thanks to a petition with over 120,000 signatures, the Investigatory Powers Bill – Britain’s new surveillance plans – could soon be repealed.
The Autumn Statement may have distracted you from this, but The Investigatory Powers Bill is now as good as passed, with the Digital Economy Bill shortly behind.
People across the globe are returning their Galaxy Note 7 mobiles to Samsung in exchange for apology rewards, to try to put out the fire on their reputation. But which country is getting the best deal? We took a look worldwide and ranked the company’s responses from best to worst.
As per the Autumn Statement, UK Government is set to invest billions into 5G, connecting more homes to fibre broadband and developing the infrastructure needed for driverless cars. But is all of this a smokescreen for the unprecedented surveillance powers they are about to get?
Someone is using former Lostprophets singer and convicted paedophile Ian Watkins’ Twitter account to promote new music - even though he is currently serving 35 years behind bars for his crimes.
While we can create computers that behave like brains, conventional circuitry means they will never perform as quickly as the sophisticated human neural network.
But Princeton researchers may have just solved this future and paved the future for this big area of research - creating the world’s first Light-based Neural Network.
The Next-generation of smartphones will be defined by 5G and Ordnance Survey have busily started work on creating new data-rich maps, to help mobile providers avoid signal drop-outs across the UK - starting with Bournemouth.
I am the Founder and Editor-in-chief of New Rising Media. You can follow me on Twitter @MrJasonEngland.