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Scientists Create a New Form of Light By Linking Photons

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Light. An ordinary but powerful piece of technology. Today, the use of light is found just about everywhere, offices, schools, homes, and many more. Light is made up of photons, which are essentially speedy, tiny bundles of energy. However, photons are typically known to not interact with each other at all. For example, when a flashlight is used, the photons creating the light are not seen because they are not interacting with each other, but are instead going through each other. In recent experiments, scientists have found a way to cause individual photons to link with each other and in turn, form a new source of light. Not only will this new light hopefully allow for the creation of light crystals, but scientists also believe that this could also mean for advancements in communication and computing.

The experiments are being conducted at MIT, where physicists run table-top experiments with lasers. It starts with a cloud of chilled rubidium atoms. Rubidium is an alkali metal that looks like a silver-white solid. Once the rubidium atoms are ready, scientists fire a laser at them in order to vaporize the rubidium and cause to slow diffuse and start to move in a highly excited state; however, because the laser is so weak, only a few handful of photons appear in the cloud. Normally, the photons would be moving at the speed of light (300,000 kilometers per second), but while passing through the cloud, they move 100,000 times slower than usual. Once they begin moving at a slower speed, this allows scientists a chance to measure the photons.

While this new discovery has been found fascinating, what exactly does this mean for future technologies? For the purpose of technological advances, photons bound together in this way can carry information, a property that becomes useful for quantum computing. The use of photons in quantum computing could later lead to uncrackable codes, ultra-precise clocks, incredibly powerful computers and so many more. Eventually, the team at MIT hope to gain such control over the photons that they will one day be able to arrange the photons so that they appear as crystals, thus becoming known as a light crystal.

The effects of light are endless. Without it, we would not be able to function. With the recent discovery in a new light, this can only mean positive things for the future. Scientists and physicists continue to perfect and learn more about this new light and even hope to one day learn new insights on how energy works and where it comes from.

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Charis P., Co-Editor-Food and Travel

Charis P. is an 8th grader who currently attends Kraemer Middle School. She decided to join Newspaper because she chose it as an elective last year and...

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Scientists Create a New Form of Light By Linking Photons