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Articles / Chemistry and Physics



It's no secret that nothing can travel faster than light. According to the scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, an exception can be made for none other than light itself. 

The above sentence seems a little contradictory, so here is how it works. A pulse of light can be expressed with a curvy wave , where the hump is the peak. The scientists from NIST didn't make the whole wave go faster, because nothing can travel faster than light. What they did were essentially some physical manipulations that extended the peak forward, so the peak gets to its destination  50 nanoseconds faster while still travelling at the highest speed known to science . The technique the researchers used is called four-wave mixing, which has them shooting very short 200 nanosecond laser particles through a cloud of rubidium vapor, which amplifies the light to the point where the peak is brought forward.

C is Einstein's constant for the speed of light in vaccum, which is universal. This means that researchers Ryan T. Glasser, Paul D Left and Ulrich Vogl managed to find somewhat of a loophole in a standard set by one of the greatest minds of the 20th century. Emotions aside, the properties of this amplified light could be studied even further, which could be a pretty decent contribution to the advancement of quantum physics.

By Denis Ivanov 

Source: popsci.com
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