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Headlines Scientists Speed up Light

Jung

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#1
http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/08/20/1440228&from=rss
"With off-the-shelf components, scientists have managed to speed up light beyond the 'universal' constant of c, or roughly 300 million meters/sec. This, and the previous ability to slow light down could shake up the telecom world, according to the story at Science Blog." Also, all those posters with 186,000 miles per second as a speed limit need to be amended. At least entropy is still around!
Pretty cool. :thumbsup:


Btw, the link in the quote has been Slashdotted, so it probably won't resolve right now.
 

JLXC

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I read it and the rest of that page. I agree with most of the posters that it's BS. Some "anonymous" scientist released this. RIIIGGHHHTTT. If he had proof his name would be Bolded.
 

Jung

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JLXC said:
Some "anonymous" scientist released this.
The article was anonymously posted to Slashdot. I'm not sure if the original blog entry was posted anonymously though. I'm still waiting for the actual article to come up so I can read it.
 

JLXC

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#5
I'm sorry Jung, I'm all for super cool new science stuff.

If there was any chance this was provably real, this would have been press released with the Scientists name in Lights. It's just that simple.
 

Jung

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Well, like I said, the article was anonymously posted on Slashdot; that has nothing to do with the actual article's origin or writers.

Edit: Wrong article. :p


Besides, it's widely known in academia that the speed of light can successfully be slowed. So why not sped up?
 

JLXC

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Well I wont just dismiss it out of hand then, I may have jumped the gun. Slowing down light is proven, I know that. Speeding it up past light speed, I dunno. It could have simply been a misreading, as I am pretty sure to get past light speed you'll need something really cool like teleportation or hyperspace or something of the kind. I would REALLY be amazed if they could make light faster than light, but I'll wait and read more carefully. Thanks for pointing this out Jung, I like stuff like this! :thumbsup:
 

Darklight

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#8
junglizm said:
Besides, it's widely known in academia that the speed of light can successfully be slowed. So why not sped up?
cuz the speed of like it supposed to be the limit that any particle can go in the universe, due to relative mass. As any particle increases speed its mass also increases making it harder to move faster. thus you need more force to increase speed. any particle reaching the speed of light would suddenly have time stop for it. it would be stuck going the speed of light forever.. as is why light itself never slows down on its own.. the sudden relative mass increase may even cause it to become a black hole..

ok im done with relative theory time ;)
 

morelos

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ok look. you need to learn some math.

how many integers are there?

how many real numbers are there?

are there more real numbers than integers?

if you can correctly answer those questions, you should be able to understand why this wouldn't be interesting.
 

YUCK FOU!!!

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junglizm said:
The article was anonymously posted to Slashdot. I'm not sure if the original blog entry was posted anonymously though. I'm still waiting for the actual article to come up so I can read it.
although interesting, i doubt it if it was an anon blog entry.
 

Jung

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#11
YUCK FOU!!! said:
although interesting, i doubt it if it was an anon blog entry.
Did you even read the thread? Anyway, anonymous people don't post articles on blogs, they post comments. Site owners post articles on blogs. The article was only posted (read: linked with a short description) to Slashdot. Therefore, like I've said three times already, the article was NOT anonymous. :rolleyes:





Looks like this is a different article though. The link finally came back up, here's the article in full.

http://www.scienceblog.com/light.html
A team of researchers from the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) has successfully demonstrated, for the first time, that it is possible to control the speed of light – both slowing it down and speeding it up – in an optical fiber, using off-the-shelf instrumentation in normal environmental conditions. Their results, to be published in the August 22 issue of Applied Physics Letters, could have implications that range from optical computing to the fiber-optic telecommunications industry.

On the screen, a small pulse shifts back and forth – just a little bit. But this seemingly unremarkable phenomenon could have profound technological consequences. It represents the success of Luc Thévenaz and his fellow researchers in the Nanophotonics and Metrology laboratory at EPFL in controlling the speed of light in a simple optical fiber. They were able not only to slow light down by a factor of three from its well – established speed c of 300 million meters per second in a vacuum, but they've also accomplished the considerable feat of speeding it up – making light go faster than the speed of light.

This is not the first time that scientists have tweaked the speed of a light signal. Even light passing through a window or water is slowed down a fraction as it travels through the medium. In fact, in the right conditions, scientists have been able to slow light down to the speed of a bicycle, or even stop it altogether. In 2003, a group from the University of Rochester made an important advance by slowing down a light signal in a room-temperature solid. But all these methods depend on special media such as cold gases or crystalline solids, and they only work at certain well-defined wavelengths. With the publication of their new method, the EPFL team, made up of Luc Thévenaz, Miguel Gonzaléz Herraez and Kwang-Yong Song, has raised the bar higher still. Their all-optical technique to slow light works in off-the-shelf optical fibers, without requiring costly experimental set-ups or special media. They can easily tune the speed of the light signal, thus achieving a wide range of delays.

"This has the enormous advantage of being a simple, inexpensive procedure that works at any wavelength, notably at wavelengths used in telecommunications," explains Thévenaz.

The telecommunications industry transmits vast quantities of data via fiber optics. Light signals race down the information superhighway at about 186,000 miles per second. But information cannot be processed at this speed, because with current technology light signals cannot be stored, routed or processed without first being transformed into electrical signals, which work much more slowly. If the light signal could be controlled by light, it would be possible to route and process optical data without the costly electrical conversion, opening up the possibility of processing information at the speed of light.

This is exactly what the EPFL team has demonstrated. Using their Stimulated Brillouin Scattering (SBS) method, the group was able to slow a light signal down by a factor of 3.6, creating a sort of temporary "optical memory." They were also able to create extreme conditions in which the light signal travelled faster than 300 million meters a second. And even though this seems to violate all sorts of cherished physical assumptions, Einstein needn't move over – relativity isn't called into question, because only a portion of the signal is affected.

Slowing down light is considered to be a critical step in our ability to process information optically. The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) considers it so important that it has been funnelling millions of dollars into projects such as "Applications of Slow Light in Optical Fibers" and research on all-optical routers. To succeed commercially, a device that slows down light must be able to work across a range of wavelengths, be capable of working at high bit-rates and be reasonably compact and inexpensive.

The EPFL team has brought applications of slow light an important step closer to this reality. And Thévenaz points out that this technology could take us far beyond just improving on current telecom applications. He suggests that their method could be used to generate high-performance microwave signals that could be used in next-generation wireless communication networks, or used to improve transmissions between satellites. We may just be seeing the tip of the optical iceberg.
 

jamesp

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Well, due to the lack of comebacks, I guess you were ultimately right jung. I have heard of slowing down light but this is the first I have heard of speeding it up. Very cool, you see peoples, we can do anything, we have the math and science, just not the technology...yet!
 

morelos

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you guys all missed the point of my comments.

there are infinite integers

there are infinite real numbers

but there are more real numbers than integers.

how can that be, if we can't count either set?
 

jamesp

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Well, the way I see it, classical physics is moot at some points. (i.e. black holes, big bang, after the speed of light, etc.) That means that physics doesn't apply but really, the math isn't much better. It tends to be a little outthere. Basically, these guys are just sitting around performing thought expiriments until they get stuck on something, and firgure out a really out there answer. So I wouldn't get your heart set on "but the laws of basic mathematics says....".
 

MaxPower

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JLXC said:
Well I wont just dismiss it out of hand then, I may have jumped the gun. Slowing down light is proven, I know that. Speeding it up past light speed, I dunno. It could have simply been a misreading, as I am pretty sure to get past light speed you'll need something really cool like teleportation or hyperspace or something of the kind. I would REALLY be amazed if they could make light faster than light, but I'll wait and read more carefully. Thanks for pointing this out Jung, I like stuff like this! :thumbsup:

Whatever you do, don't cross the beams.

Why not?

It would be bad.

~Ghostbusters
 

dustinzgirl

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Max you are a dork.

We can create lasers that move faster than the speed of light, so I dont see why it would be impossible to increase the speed of natural light.

LIght is only an electromagnetic wave, a natural part of our universe that can be modified, altered and controlled.

More on this from www.msnbc.com/news: (I would have posted the actual research, but I had to look at the group I am speaking to, and decided this crap article from msnbc would have to be good enough)

EINSTEIN’S THEORY of special relativity set the tone in 1905 with the claim that an object cannot be accelerated to beyond the speed of light in a vacuum: 186,000 miles per second, or 300,000 kilometers per second.
Since then, the light-speed threshold has served as the inspiration for such science-fiction standbys as warp drives and backward time travel — reinforcing the idea that going faster than 186,000 miles a second was pure fantasy.
However, in recent years there has been increasing evidence that 186,000 miles a second is not necessarily the limit for light transmission, depending on your definitions. The clearest evidence so far comes from an experiment conducted at the NEC Research Institute in New Jersey and described in Thursday’s issue of the journal Nature.
The experiment highlights the loopholes in relativity theory — caveats that usually don’t figure in popular discussions of what Einstein proposed. First of all, it’s important to remember that this business about 186,000 miles per second applies only to light in a vacuum, and that the speed limit applies only to objects that have mass. Since light waves are massless, physicists say that light can travel as fast as … well, as fast as light.
It’s well known that light can travel slower than 186,000 miles a second, depending on the medium it’s passing through. That medium can be as common as air, water or glass. Or it can be more exotic. For example, researchers at the Rowland Institute for Science and Harvard University say they’ve been able to slow light down to 1 mph, by passing it through a chamber containing supercooled atoms.

SPEEDING UP A LIGHT WAVE

Lijun Wang, Alexander Kuzmich and Arthur Dogariu used a different kind of exotic medium in their experiment: The researchers used lasers to “pump” cesium atoms, contained in a 6-centimeter (2.4-inch) chamber, to an excited state that doesn’t occur naturally.
Then they passed a smooth light pulse, lasting about three-millionths of a second, through the chamber. The atoms in the cesium gas were in just the right state to shift the pattern of peaks and troughs in the many wavelengths that made up the light pulse.

Because of this shift, the pulse popped up on the other side of the chamber far sooner than it should have, based on the speed of light in a vacuum. In fact, the time difference — 62-billionths of a second — meant that the peak of the pulse appeared on the far side of the chamber before it entered the near side of the chamber. That’s an instance of what’s known as “negative delay” or “negative velocity,” a phenomenon that seems paradoxical. It was almost as if the light wave could figure out, on the basis of the very beginning of the pulse, how to reconstruct the full peak on the other side.
This isn’t the first time researchers have made light waves travel “faster than light,” but it’s the most clear-cut case. Other experiments, including research from Italy that was published in May, involved more manipulation of the light wave in transit.
Word of the NEC experiment leaked out weeks ago, but the researchers couldn’t discuss their findings publicly because of Nature’s embargo. Now they are free to declare that the results mesh quite well with what’s known about electromagnetism and quantum mechanics.
“Our experiment is not at odds with Einstein’s special relativity,” they said in a statement. “The experiment can be well explained using existing physics theories that are consistent with relativity. In fact, the experiment was designed based on calculations using existing physics theories.”

/end quote
 

Broken

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In this study, in which very delicate time measuring equipment was used, the light pulse re-phased before it entered the cesium cell. It was established that after the light pulse left the cesium cell and covered a distance of 20 meters, it also entered the cesium cell at that exact moment. In other words, Wang states that the light pulse appears in two different points at the very same time. That is, the light pulse exits the cesium cell before it enters it.

Schrödinger's cat anyone?
 

jamesp

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This is not necessarily a Schrödinger cat comparison. There are elementary expirementns that you can do, such as the dual slit expirement, which show that light can be in more than one place at once. I believe the relativistic explanation for this was entanglment. Where changes upon one particle are instantaneously reflected in another a few inches apart or even a universe apart. So, some smart guy has just figured out a useful use for this idea. Seriously, this could have an enormous impact on the telecommunications industry, like no latency! That would be pretty cool.
 

morelos

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#20
the speed of light is to typical velocity as infinity is to real numbers.

faster-than-the-speed-of-light speeds of light still converge to the speed of light.