Scientists May Have Discovered a New Kind of Light

ust when we think we know about photons these experimenters find out some crazy stuff.  Is light a wave or a particle?  Most people think both as been covered by the site and other articles before.  And now, these physicists get technical and explain what they just spotted:

Physicists from Trinity College Dublin’s School of Physics and the CRANN Institute, Trinity College, have discovered a new form of light, which will impact our understanding of the fundamental nature of light.

One of the measurable characteristics of a beam of light is known as angular momentum. Until now, it was thought that in all forms of light the angular momentum would be a multiple of Planck’s constant (the physical constant that sets the scale of quantum effects).

Angular momentum was apparently thought to be constant.  Uh I guess not eh?  Now what does this mean in terms of applications?  It may be too early to know.

Here is a bit more information in terms of the technical jargon.  However, even a non physicist can appreciate this experiment and spotting:

Now, recent PhD graduate Kyle Ballantine and Professor Paul Eastham, both from Trinity College Dublin’s School of Physics, along with Professor John Donegan from CRANN, have demonstrated a new form of light where the angular momentum of each photon (a particle of visible light) takes only half of this value. This difference, though small, is profound.

What could this mean and what are your wildest ideas in regards to their experiment?  Could this be used in lasers or some other type of application or experiment?  maybe we don’t even want to know.

And in the below video they show a really cool new kind of light bulb from the evening news although it does not use this kind of light.

Check back for updates as they come in!

Image Credit: Jeff Keyzer via Flickr

thanks to phys.org for the great info

 

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