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Researchers find a new property of light with a twist

ScienceandFuture
Light

According to study published in the journal Science, scientists associated with the number of institutions in Spain and the U.S. have reported that they have found a new property of light—self-torque.

A team described how this new property came about and it’s possible uses. They also have well-known information about such properties of light as wavelength.

Not long ago, scientists have found that light could also be twisted. This property is called angular momentum. Beams with highly structured angular momentum have orbital angular momentum (OAM), which are called vortex beams. They appear as a helix surrounding a common center, when they hit a flat surface, they appear as doughnut-shaped.

In this new attempt, scientists were operating with OAM beams, and discovered that light is acting in a way that had never been seen before.

This experiments intricate two firing lasers at a cloud of argon gas.

Performing so, forced the beams to overlap and joined, and were emitted as a single beam from the other side of the argon cloud. The result was a type of vortex beam.

They then think about, what would take place if the lasers had different orbital angular momentum or if they were slightly out of sync. This resulted in a beam that seems like a corkscrew with a gradually changing twist and when the beam struck a flat surface, it seemed like a crescent moon. They also looked at another way, where a single photon at the front of the beam was orbiting around its core more slowly than a photon at the back of the beam.

Self-torque is an inherent property of light. It distinguishes from the mechanical torque applied on the matter by static-OAM beams.

Kevin Dorney, research co-author and a physical chemist at the JILA laboratory run by the University of Colorado, Boulder, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology said that they’re always discovering new things in science but it’s not that often to discover a new fundamental property. This property is so new that the immediate applications are not obvious.

Researchers promptly discovered the new property self-torque. Not only this, it is also one that has never even been predicted.

At last, scientists put forward that it should be possible to use technique to modulate the orbital angular momentum of light in ways which are very related to modulating frequencies in communications equipment. This could also lead to the evolvement of novel devices that make use of manipulating extremely tiny materials.