Light forms matter

New form of matter created by scientists using light

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When we talk about matter we normally have in our minds something of substance that we can touch and hold. However, scientists at Harvard and MIT have questioned our beliefs about matter and the way we perceive light by discovering a way in which photons (a particle representing a quantum of light) can be used to form molecules.

This discovery according to Professor Mikhail Lukin of Harvard University goes against what has been accepted for centuries about the nature of light, which is that photons are elementary particles that do not have mass and do not interact with each other.

The scientific team managed to create a medium where photons interact in such a strong way that they form molecules and create mass.

Such a discovery could have many applications in the future once the mechanics of it are understood in a better way. The first big help will be in quantum computers where they may be able to manipulate photons and perform logical operations at the molecular level. To take it even further in the future it may be possible to create complex three dimensional structures like crystals completely out of light.

There is lots of research to be conducted on this new topic. After all, it is a new form of matter that we have never encountered before.  As Professor Lukin said: “We do this for fun, and because we’re pushing the frontiers of science”.

It looks like the light sabre of Star Wars may become a reality after all…

By John Black

Comments

Photons, it seems to me, with their mixed physical particle and wave-like attributes, could well be the key to coming up with a theory that unifies quantum and particle physics. Let's hope they get there soon!

wow it's like kind of magic!

There was a game several years ago on PC called The Dig, by Lucas Arts and Steven Spielberg. The spaceship the human crew was transported in to an alien world was a crystal made of light, as were the mysteries on that world.. many of them were unlocked using similar technology.
That game struck a chord with me, and I feel like this type of science is on to something.
Thanks for the article!

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