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.
There are no two ways to say this - smartphones are boring and Mobile World Congress has exposed this. If the biggest news story coming out of Barcelona is the return of Nokia's feature phone, then we have a problem...
The Misfit Ray is a sleek and inconspicuous fitness tracker, which sacrifices accurate data for a fashionable design - perfect for the fashion conscious.
Google tried with balloons. Facebook has drones. Now, British mobile provider EE has joined the fight to provide rural communities with phone signal - using both high-flying balloons and drones.
A group of seven exoplanets have been found orbiting the star, known as Trappist-1, by NASA. This amazing discovery has raised hopes in the hunt for alien life and other planets for the human race to colonise.
It’s a common story - you access Facebook’s privacy settings and lock down your account, to prevent your data falling into the wrong hands. But how much of your activity, in spite of changing those settings, is still public? Well, a Belgian white hat hacker made the site ‘Stalkscan’ to find out.
Now that Snapchat Spectacles are available online, the sheen of vending machine-related exclusivity is now off. That makes this the perfect time to post a long term review of my own pair.
Global Gene Corp and GA4GH (Global Alliance for Genomics and Health) are delighted to announce the launch of ggINDIA, the first ever beacon for Indian genomics data. This Beacon joins those already on the Wellcome Genome Campus supplied by EMBL-EBI and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. I will get the obvious question out the way - what on Earth is genomics data? Let's find out...
Struggling to sleep? You’re not alone, as 22% of Britons feel the same way. Luckily, research has found a cure - spending time outdoors away from artificial light sources, such as your smartphone or laptop. Doing this can reset your biological clock and help you sleep longer.
With the tenth anniversary of iPhone being this year, many of us are expecting a big redesign with new features - that is exactly what the “best Apple analyst on the planet” has said. Finally, late to the party, wireless charging will be coming to Apple’s smartphone this year.
When photography was invented in the early 1800s, it wasn’t long before people realised that you could develop a 3D image if you overlaid the same image at a slightly different angle. This gave birth to Victorian Stereoscopes, which was the first step the human race took towards 3D pictures, movies and Virtual Reality.
I am the Founder and Editor-in-chief of New Rising Media. You can follow me on Twitter @MrJasonEngland.