Science Blast: Light goes BOOOM!

New theory about the nature of light!

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

Nagasaki_Bomb

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.