Science Blast: Light goes BOOOM!

New theory about the nature of light!

Scientists Suggest Light Momentum Carried By Atomic Shock Wave by Peter Clarke


Finnish scientists have shed some light on 100 year-old paradox that there have been two different values for the momentum of light in a transparent medium and that typically, these values differ by a factor of ten.

The paradox that light has momentum but does not have mass is another matter.

Researchers from Aalto University have published a paper in Physics Review A that claims to show that the propagation of light in a transparent medium is associated with the transfer of atomic mass density. The passage of the photon through the medium sets the atoms in motion and a propagation wave of those atoms carries a significant part of the total momentum of the light. In the case of silicon this atomic wave carries 92 percent of the total momentum of light.

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  • Josh Griffing

    And I was just thinking, not half an hour ago, about FTL signals and why they’d only be discernible on sub-light receivers: what the instruments read is not the signal-pulse itself so much as the wave-form of its “photic boom” as it passes into the slower medium. And then I see the above. Nice.