3 little-known and surprising facts about light

(ORDO NEWS) — From the school physics course, it is known that light is electromagnetic radiation perceived by the human eye. However, this is only a grain of sand on the beach of the real nature of light.

We want to fix the situation, so here are three little-known and surprising facts about light that you may not have known.

Bubbles turn sound into light

If powerful ultrasonic waves are generated in a container of water, tiny air bubbles will begin to appear, which will emit a subtle flash of light.

This phenomenon, called sonoluminescence, was discovered back in 1934, but scientists still do not know why this happens.

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The main hypothesis is that high-intensity sound waves cause bubbles to vibrate, which expand and then collapse with the intense energy of the sound wave. Researchers are wondering if this effect can be used to create fusion reactors.

Light can be used for cooling

A laser is a device that emits a beam of coherent light through an optical amplification process. Lasers can be used not only to heat surfaces, but also to cool individual atoms to incredibly low temperatures.

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When a beam of laser radiation is directed at an atom moving towards it, it slows down its speed and thus cools the atom.

This method, developed in 1985, was called “Doppler cooling”. Today’s technology makes it possible to cool atoms so much that the temperature of an object tends to absolute zero (less than a millionth of a kelvin) – the minimum temperature limit that a physical body in the Universe can have.

In other words, the atom acquires practically zero speed (negligible, which can be ignored), so that all chemical processes stop.

Light can move super fast, super slow, or not move at all

The speed of light in a vacuum is 299,792,458 meters per second, or over a billion kilometers per hour. However, when light passes through a bizarre form of matter called a Bose-Einstein condensate an aggregate state of matter made up of bosons cooled to temperatures close to absolute zero (more on that later), the speed of light is reduced to an incredible 25 kilometers per hour.

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This phenomenon is explained quite simply: photons collide with supercooled atoms, forming a hybrid particle called a polariton, which moves much more slowly than a photon.

Just as Bose-Einstein condensates can be used to slow light down, they can also be used to completely (albeit temporarily) stop it. In the most successful experiment, a team of scientists was able to stop the light for 1.5 seconds before it started moving again.

This discovery brings mankind closer to the creation of quantum information transfer technology.


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