Thursday, September 11, 2014

Defying physics, engineers prove a magnetic field for light

Defying physics, engineers prove a magnetic field for light: When a light wave travels under normal conditions, its phase is proportional to how far it traveled, but it is unaffected by what path it has taken. Just like a magnetic field causes a current to switch direction, the researchers showed that by modulating the light with their device, they could make the phase of the light change not only as a function of distance traveled, but also by the shape of its path.
An array of such modulators would be powerful enough to create a field for light that is equivalent to the magnetic field for electrons; phases of light could be controlled arbitrarily by each of the modulators. This means that the phase of transmitted light could depend on the path it has taken from point A to point B, Lipson explained.

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