Monday, September 30, 2013
Harvard and MIT create Molecules from Photons - Lightsabers, Optical Quantum Computers and Light Crystals are Possible
“It's not an in-apt analogy to compare this to Lightsabers. When these Photons interact with each other, they're pushing against and deflect each other. The physics of what's happening in these molecules is similar to what we see in the movies.”
Harvard Professor of Physics Mikhail Lukin in a Press Release on Thursday September 26th, 2013
Science took yet another step towards the Development of a Quantum Computer or at least the Optical Computer using Light as a Data transfer medium. This as researchers from Harvard and MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) working with doctoral student Alexey Gorshkov and MIT graduate students Thibault Peyronel and Qiu Liang at the Harvard-MIT Center for Ultracold Atom under the guidance of Harvard Professor of Physics Mikhail Lukin and MIT Professor of Physics Vladan Vuletic has managed to create a new form of matter.
They’ve taken massless Photons, the very same particles that make up Light and made their pair-bond covalently in a new form of matter as reported in “Science trumps the Force to create a real-life Lightsaber”, published September 26, 2013 1:52 PM PDT by Eric Mack, CNET News and “Scientists create never-before-seen form of matter”, published Sep 25, 2013, PhysOrg.
They achieved this by basically freezing Light in its place. Using Supercooled to near absolute zero in a vacuum chamber and a gaseous bundle of Rubidium (Rb) Atoms, they managed to make Photons emitted by weak and extremely low-powered Laser beams bind together covalently and form molecular pairs.
In essence, the scientists created a new form of matter never before seen using a principle known as the Rydberg Blockade based on the publication of their results in the Nature Physics Journal “Observation of collective excitation of two individual Atoms in the Rydberg blockade regime”, published 11 January 2009, Nature Journal.
Rydberg Blockade – Lightsaber and Crystalline Photons
Harvard Professor of Physics Mikhail Lukin, who explains it quite simply, quote: “Most of the properties of light we know about originate from the fact that Photons are massless, and that they do not interact with each other. What we have done is create a special type of medium in which Photons interact with each other so strongly that they begin to act as though they have mass, and they bind together to form molecules. This type of Photonic bound state has been discussed theoretically for quite a while, but until now it hadn't been observed”.
The principle behind the Rydberg Blockade is that 2 Atoms can be excited by the same Energy level by the same source. As the Rubidium (Rb) Atoms are in an ultra cool gaseous state, they at their lowest Ground State in terms of Energy. The Team fired single low Energy Photons into the Rubidium (Rb) Cloud and as the individual Photons passed beside the ultra-cool Rubidium (RB) Atoms, they lost Energy in accordance with the Rydberg Blockade.
This resulted in each Photon imparting its Energy to each Rubidium (Rb) it meets, but not to the same Energy Level as the previous Photon before it. As such, for the second Photon coming behind it to excite the previous Atoms that the first Photon excited, the first Photon must move on further into the Cloud and excite other Rubidium (Rb) Atoms, so that it too can excite the Atoms to the same Energy Level.
The Atoms travel in pairs like trains, the first Photon pulling the other along and the Second Photon behind it pushing it along as it imparts Energy to the nearby Rubidium (Rb) Atoms in the super-cooled Rubidium (Rb) Cloud. Eventually, they pair up and beginning moving together following behind each other as they lose Energy to the nearby Rubidium (Rb) Atoms.
At this point they become lower in Energy and begin to merge, bonding as would covalent Atoms sharing an electron and behaving as if they’ve acquired a Higgs Boson i.e. Having Mass as explained in my blog article entitled “Higgs Boson Discovery is the Biggest discovery of 2012 - Lay the Favourite for Anti-Gravity, Light Speed Travel and Quantum Teleportation Deadfall”.
But instead of sharing Electrons, they’re sharing Energy, which acts as a glue to bind the Photons together. This fits with Professor of Physics Mikhail Lukin explanation of what’s happening, quote: “It's a Photonic interaction that's mediated by the Atomic interaction. That makes these two Photons behave like a molecule, and when they exit the medium they're much more likely to do so together than as single Photons”.
The implication of this discovery of a new form of matter isn’t surprising. It’s already known that you have stars made up purely of Neutrons called Neutron Stars, the result left behind after the collapse of a very massive during a Supernova event as explained in “Neutron Stars”, visited September 30th 2013 by Lindsworth Deer, NASA.
Electrons are also known to do the same thing as well, clumping together in a ball of Electrons and charged ozone plasma known as Ball Lightning. Ball Lightning has been known about since before and after Victorian times in the 1600’s and it’s not uncommon to see etchings from that time period showing this mysterious phenomenon.
It’s often been written about and observed during very violent thunderstorms and is thought to be in some cases related to St. Elmo’s Fire as can be seen in the video below!
But this kind of clumping together of otherwise massless Photons has never been observed before. This is not to say that Photons haven’t been captured and made to stop travelling at the speed of Light, a feat that’s already been done and has implications for Data Storage, particularly Optical Data Switches and more efficient optical to electrical conversion in Fiber Optic Switches in Telecom Networks that don’t require conversion from Light to Electrical to manipulate Data.
Essentially this Rydberg Blockade can be used in an Optical Computer, especially for optical to electrical conversions. A practical version of an Optical Computer is no doubt being developed as described in my blog article entitled “USB 3.0 Standards Promotion Group announced 10Gbps capable USB 3.1 Standard - How PC and Laptop Sales can be revived by going Turbo”, with this recent discovery making the storage of information from Photons lead more to the development of a Quantum Computer.
Storage of Light – From Light Crystals to Light Sabers and Optical Computer Storage
This, literally, however, is a whole different ball of wax! This is really not only a new form of matter, but also has practical applications. If Photons can be made to form molecular pairs, that means it can be made to assume one of the three (3) Standard states of Matter, that being solid, Liquid or Gas.
If so, it has huge implications for Data Storage, allowing Light to be captured and stored even in Crystalline form, as that’s a Solid state that’s possible for any solid under the right conditions. Since Photons are massless, these Crystals would float, assuming “massless” really means negligible mass.
This makes their covalently bonded molecules in a Crystalline lattice mostly filled with air in-between, like Aerogel. In fact, it would look a lot like Aerogel, only giving off luminescent radiation even in darkness and not reflecting or refracting Light it like traditional Crystals.
They’d also lose mass by giving off radiation and more interestingly, it’ll be easy to move them about when floating in the air by simply shining Light on them, as they’d be susceptible to Light pressure i.e. the collision of Photons from a Laser beam could move them around while floating in the air!
They’d also be a great storage medium for Video, which is mostly composed of Light. This is similar to the idea of using Crystals to store data as described in my blog article entitled “University of Southampton and Eindhoven's University write and read Data to Quartz Crystal - Eternal Storage borrowed from Superman Man of Steel”. Due to their delicate nature and the fact they’re made out of Light, assuming a crystalline form would be a very termporaty physical state of matter, as they’re too delicate and fragile to hold the structure for long.
But it’s their other properties that they’ve have once they acquire a charge. Assuming they have a net positive charge as they now have mass due to their attraction for the energy that binds them together, they’d bind and attract Electrons that would form an orbit. Due to their “massless” or negligible mass, these orbiting Electrons would be lightly bound, making it possible for the Electrons to move around within their Crystalline Lattice.
In essence, Light Crystals would have properties similar to a Superconducting Metal i.e. current flow even after applied e.m.f. removed with an E.M.F (Electro Magnetic Force) that could be easily induced by applying a fluctuation magnetic field or a voltage potential. This would result in a Light Crystal becoming energetic and able to produce arcs of Electrons, spitting and crackling like a Tesla Coil but with the Electrons bound to their Light Crystal Lattice in much the same way Electrons flow on the surface of a metal.
This would basically be a Light Saber as seen in Star Wars declares The UK Guardian in excitement in the article “Star Wars lightsabers finally invented”, published Monday 30 September 2013 09.59 BST by Ben Child, The UK Guardian.
The only difference being is that the Light Saber made by this Rydberg Blockade method and any resulting Light Crystals as described above would be very delicate and require a magnetic shielding to reinforce the Crystalline lattice and prevent it from falling apart in a burst of very bright Light.
Remember the Light Crystal is made of covalently bonded Photons. Breaking the lattice would reduce the Photons back to their molecular pairs and then they’d easily react with free Photons in a sudden rapid burst of blinding radiation, causing instant blindness to whomever witnessed it.
So this danger combine with the requirement of absolute zero to make the Photons form covalently bonded molecules and eventually Light Crystals in the first place makes for a fascinating discovery with even more fascinating work to be done to make this practical!
May the Force be with the Researchers at Harvard and MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology?).