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.
I have bought and used a DJI Osmo for over a year as my main camera. How does it stack up? Find out in my full review...
The spectrum of titles out there lean somewhat towards the bad. For every good game, you get ten terrible ones – from Aquaman to Silver Surfer. Here are ten of the best...
One researcher has trained a neural network to create its own pick-up lines, uploading thousands of existing lines for it to identify patterns and generate new ones. Simple question – do these chat-up lines hold up?
Does everything really need stories? According to Facebook, yes they do and Redditors have been busy mocking them by photoshopping 20 more ridiculous places that will now have stories.
It’s the question we always ask ourselves, and one this blog’s sole purpose is to answer - what does the future look like? Well, Kaspersky has chosen to visualise our future with an interactive map called Earth 2050.
Whoever said you can’t manufacture love clearly doesn’t have experience in robotics… Meet 31-year-old artificial intelligence expert Zheng Jiajia, who built and married his own female humanoid.
Remember that Sega Mega Drive/Genesis you have in the attic? Time to go find it, as developer WaterMelon Corp is releasing a new game for the classic console. Named Paprium , this classic beat-em-up has been in the works for four years.
Uber has released a ‘Lost & Found Index,’ detailing some of the possessions people have reported lost. From the usual items like a missing cell phone to the weirder items like a “Meat packet” and some Valium, it’s clear the human race is still as gloriously strange as ever!
I get it. We’re all scared in the wake of the tragedy in Westminster last Wednesday. Khalid Masood’s actions in committing this atrocity are truly reprehensible. But digital communication is not at fault, and adding an Orwellian level of surveillance is not the answer.
Broadband problems? Under new Ofcom proposals, you will no longer have to “fight tooth and nail” for the “fair compensation” you are owed. If approved, Internet Service Providers will automatically have to pay customers for bad broadband, delayed repairs and missed engineer appointments.
I am the Founder and Editor-in-chief of New Rising Media. You can follow me on Twitter @MrJasonEngland.