Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Could Light Behave As A Solid? A New Theory

Date:
May 7, 2007
Source:
University of Melbourne
Summary:
Researchers from the Universities of Melbourne and Cambridge have unveiled a new theory that shows light can behave like a solid. "Solid light will help us build the technology of this century," says Dr Andrew Greentree of the School of Physics at the University of Melbourne. Dr Greentree and colleagues Jared Cole and Professor Lloyd Hollenberg of the University of Melbourne with Dr Charles Tahan of the University of Cambridge made their 'solid light' breakthrough using tools more commonly used to study matter.

Quantum control: A potential design for a device which controls light. The block with the holes in it is a piece of diamond. The red spots are the particles of light 'stuck' in place, rather than roaming around freely.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Melbourne

Researchers from the Universities of Melbourne and Cambridge have unveiled a new theory that shows light can behave like a solid.

“Solid light will help us build the technology of this century,” says Dr Andrew Greentree of the School of Physics at the University of Melbourne.

Dr Greentree and colleagues Jared Cole and Professor Lloyd Hollenberg of the University of Melbourne with Dr Charles Tahan of the University of Cambridge made their ‘solid light’ breakthrough using tools more commonly used to study matter.

“Solid light photons repel each other as electrons do. This means we can control photons, opening the door to new kinds of faster computers,” says Dr Greentree.

“Many real-world problems in quantum physics are too hard to solve with today’s computers. Our discovery shows how to replicate these hard problems in a system we can control and measure.”

He says photons of light do not normally interact with each other. In contrast, the electrons used by computers strongly repel each other.

The team has shown theoretically how to engineer a ‘phase transition’ in photons, leading them to change their state so that they do not interact with each other.

“A phase transition occurs when something changes its state, for example when water becomes ice,” says team member Jared Cole.

“Usually, photons flow freely, but in the right circumstances, they repel each other, and form a crystal.”

He says phase transitions are very important in science and technology, but only the simplest phase transitions can be understood.

Dr Greentree says the solid light phase transition effect ties together two very different areas of physics, optics and condensed matter “to create a whole new way of thinking”.

“It is very exciting for the University of Melbourne and its international collaborations to be leading the world in this new area,” he says.

The team’s work has been reported in the prestigious scientific journals Nature Physics and New Scientist.

Funding has come from international and national sources, including the Australian Research Council, the Australian Government, US National Security Agency, the US-based Advanced Research and Development Activity, Army Research Office and the US National Science Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Melbourne. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Melbourne. "Could Light Behave As A Solid? A New Theory." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 May 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070506160623.htm>.
University of Melbourne. (2007, May 7). Could Light Behave As A Solid? A New Theory. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070506160623.htm
University of Melbourne. "Could Light Behave As A Solid? A New Theory." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070506160623.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 16, 2014) Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' startup will team up with Boeing and Lockheed to develop rocket engines as Elon Musk races to have his rockets certified. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
MIT's Robot Cheetah Unleashed — Can Now Run, Jump Freely

MIT's Robot Cheetah Unleashed — Can Now Run, Jump Freely

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) MIT developed a robot modeled after a cheetah. It can run up to speeds of 10 mph, though researchers estimate it will eventually reach 30 mph. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Manufacturer Prints 3-D Car In Record Time

Manufacturer Prints 3-D Car In Record Time

Newsy (Sep. 15, 2014) Automobile manufacturer Local Motors created a drivable electric car using a 3-D printer. Printing the body only took 44 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Refurbished New York Subway Tunnel Unveiled After Sandy Damage

Refurbished New York Subway Tunnel Unveiled After Sandy Damage

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 15, 2014) New York officials unveil subway tunnels that were refurbished after Superstorm Sandy. Nathan Frandino reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

      Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins