fbpx
$0.00

No products in the cart.

$0.00

No products in the cart.

Exclusive Content:

Haunted Hotels of Cochise County: The Copper Queen Hotel

Bisbee, Arizona has gone through many, many changes since...

Does Your Pet Have a Past Life?

Have you ever wondered if your pet’s unusual talents...

Whispers of Whitecroft: Hauntings in the Isle of Wight’s Former Asylum

Uncover the chilling mysteries that shroud Whitecroft Hospital, once...

Squeezing light waves through ‘slits in time’

A celebrated experiment in 1801 showed that light passing through two thin slits interferes with itself, forming a characteristic striped pattern on the wall behind. Now, physicists have shown that a similar effect can arise with two slits in time rather than space: a single mirror that rapidly turns on and off causes interference in a laser pulse, making it change colour.

The result is reported on 3 April in Nature Physics1. It adds a new twist to the classic double-slit experiment performed by physicist Thomas Young, which demonstrated the wavelike aspect of light, but also — in its many later reincarnations — that quantum objects ranging from photons to molecules have a dual nature of both particle and wave.

Subscribe to Paranormality Magazine and get instant access to all our issues

as well as exclusive content.

The rapid switching of the mirror — possibly taking just 1 femtosecond (one-quadrillionth of a second) — shows that certain materials can change their optical properties much faster than previously thought possible, says Andrea Alù, a physicist at the City University of New York.

This could open new paths for building devices that handle information using light rather than electronic impulses.

Romain Tirole, a quantum physicist at Imperial College London, and his collaborators shot an infrared laser at a surface made of layers of gold and glass with a thin coating of indium tin oxide (ITO), a material common in smartphone screens.

Under normal conditions, ITO is transparent to infrared light. But the researchers were able to make the material reflective using a second laser, which excited electrons in the material, affecting its optical properties.

This could be done with pulses from the second laser that lasted for around 200 femtoseconds.

The researchers positioned a light sensor along the reflected beam.

When they shot two ultrashort pulses separated by a few tens of femtoseconds — therefore turning the ITO mirror on twice in rapid succession — they saw that the waveform of the twice-reflected light changed in response. It went from a simple, monochromatic wave to a more complex one.

The results also showed that the ITO took less than 10 femtoseconds to get excited — much faster than expected theoretically or from previous measurements.

“The reason why everybody else thought it would be slower is that they used a different technique to measure the response time, which was limited to 50–100 fs,” says co-author Riccardo Sapienza, a physicist at Imperial College.

The interference disappears if the mirror is turned on only once2. This is analogous to what happened in the classic Young experiment, where the interference patterns vanished if the light was shone through one slit rather than two.

The most exciting outcome, according to Alù, is that the researchers have shown that it is “possible to change the properties of ITOs very quickly”.

Such rapid switching could lead to devices that reflect signals in time — the optical analogue of playing a musical record backwards.

In general, achieving such a feat with any kind of wave requires generating an abrupt and pronounced change in a medium’s properties across a sufficiently large volume.

Until this year, a similar result had been achieved only with water waves3. But last month, in Nature Physics4, Alù and his collaborators demonstrated it for the first time with electromagnetic waves, by propagating microwave signals through electronic circuits.

So far, the Imperial College ITO has shown a large and abrupt change, but over only a thin surface — the biggest challenge will be to extend such a result over a larger volume.

Meanwhile, Tirole and Sapienza are working with collaborators to reproduce the two-mirror effect with sound waves, such as those propagating on a membrane.

“All the physics we study is about waves, so we can easily apply the same concepts to different domains,” says Sapienza. “This can bring about more applications, for example novel antennas for 6G, using time to combine many antennas in one.”

Temporal interference and time reversal could lead to new ways of creating time crystals, which are mind-bending structures that repeat periodically, not in space — as ordinary crystals do — but in time.

They could also help researchers build quantum computers based on photons.

This article is republished from Nature under a Creative Commons license.

Read the original article by Davide Castelvecchi

The Latest Print Issues

Subscribe

Digital 2.99/Month or 32.99/Annually

Receive the current issue and future issues, sent straight to your inbox each month. Use promo code Paranormality to get your first month free.

Digital + 5.99/Month or 59.99/Annually

Get each month’s issue sent straight to your inbox. Get instant access to all our back issues. Get instant full website access to all our subscriber articles and interviews

Print 16.00/Month or Print + 19.99/Month

Get each month’s issue sent straight to your mailbox (includes free shipping). With Print + Get instant access to all our back issues. Get instant full website access to all our subscriber articles and interviews.

Latest News

Hudson Valley Woman’s Frightening Run-In Remains Cryptic

A woman walking her dog in Carmel, New York,...

Legend Grows of Elusive ‘Thundercow’ Roaming Near Lake Thunderbird

Over the past year, residents around Oklahoma's Lake Thunderbird...

Mysterious “Monsterland” Lives Up to Eerie Reputation

For well over a century, a remote five-mile wooded...

Unveiling the Dark Origins of Valentine’s Day: From Lupercalia to Modern Romance

Delve into the eerie roots of Valentine's Day, where...

Page 13

Physicists Create Record-Breaking 40-Minute Time Crystal

A team of physicists from TU Dortmund University have...

Mystifying Superhumans Walk Among Us

There are certain individuals in this world who possess...

Scientists Achieve ‘Inception’ Like Real-Time Communication with Sleeping Minds

In what seems like a science fiction scenario come...

Reader Submitted

The Elizabethtown Paranormal Society & Jamestown Ky Paranormal Research Center’s Adventures

Post by: The Elizabethtown Paranormal Society (TEPS) Buckle up, paranormal...

When a Malevolent Presence Disrupted a Phone Call

I was recently watching a live on Tiktok with...

MH370 UFO Videos, Is It Military Testing or Extraterrestrial Encounters

By Dr. M. Timothy MounceCo-author: CJ Dearinger "Planes go up,...
Brandon Grimes
Brandon Grimes is a seasoned paranormal journalist known for his relentless pursuit of the unexplained. With an insatiable curiosity and a keen eye for detail, he has dedicated his career to uncovering the mysteries that lie beyond the realms of conventional understanding. Brandon's approach to paranormal journalism is characterized by a healthy blend of skepticism and open-mindedness. He firmly believes in critically examining the evidence, challenging assumptions, and presenting the truth to his readers. His methodical research and commitment to unbiased reporting have earned him the respect of both believers and skeptics alike. Throughout his career, Brandon has traveled to countless haunted locations, delving deep into the dark underbelly of the paranormal world. He has interviewed witnesses, experts, and even those who claim to possess supernatural abilities, always striving to bring forth stories that would otherwise remain hidden in the shadows.

Hudson Valley Woman’s Frightening Run-In Remains Cryptic

A woman walking her dog in Carmel, New York, claims to have encountered something bizarre and frightening one night in February. Some large footprints...

Legend Grows of Elusive ‘Thundercow’ Roaming Near Lake Thunderbird

Over the past year, residents around Oklahoma's Lake Thunderbird have reported sightings of an elusive, uncatchable cow roaming the area that has been dubbed...

Mysterious “Monsterland” Lives Up to Eerie Reputation

For well over a century, a remote five-mile wooded area near Leominster, Massachusetts has been the source of persistent paranormal tales, earning it the...