Thursday, May 3, 2012
Fed Up With Sluggish Neutrinos, Scientists Force Light To Move Faster Than Its Own Speed Limit: The researchers pulsed ultra-short (200 nanosecond) laser pulses into a cloud of rubidium vapor, according to NIST. Next to this seed pulse, they pumped in a second laser beam at a different frequency. The rubidium amplified the seed light, so its hump hunched forward. While this was happening, photons — because light is a wave and a particle — interacted with the vapor and formed a second pulse, which could also be tuned to travel faster or slower than it is supposed to. The peaks of these light waves arrived at their targets 50 nanoseconds earlier than they would have if they were traveling at the constant C.