Physicists from the School of Physics and the CRANN Institute of the Trinity College Dublin, have discovered a new form of light. This is a major discovery that will entirely transform how we view and study light.
Angular momentum is one of the main characteristics of light. Our previous understanding of light indicated that, in all its forms, the angular momentum of light will always be a simple multiple of the Planck’s constant.
However, the recent research of the PhD graduate Kyle Ballantine and Professor Paul Eastham indicates a new form of light. The angular momentum of each photon was determined to be half the Planck’s constant.
Professor Paul Eastham said:
“We’re interested in finding out how we can change the way light behaves, and how that could be useful. What I think is so exciting about this result is that even this fundamental property of light, that physicists have always thought was fixed, can be changed.”
Even this extremely small difference in measurements had profound implications for the world of physics and science. The world of data communication will also undergo a huge transformation owing to this discovery.
Professor John Donegan is interested to find out how we can use this new form of light in a secure optical communication system.
The research team involved with the discovery of this new form of light made use of the phenomenon discovered by William Rowan Hamilton and Humphrey Lloyd where the duo witnessed that the light beam after passing through some specific crystals, transforms into a hollow cylinder. The same phenomenon was used to generate screw-like structures.
After their initial research, the scientists theorized that the angular momentum of the photon will be half-integer. They devised an experiment to ascertain the validity of their theory employing a special instrument designed to measure the angular momentum of photons in the light beam. The experiment also measured the variations in the angular momentum due to the quantum effects.
A small change in angular momentum, almost one half the Planck’s constant was depicted by the experimental results.
The discovery will have a huge impact on the fiber optic communication. The future promises an even higher bit transmission or data rate along with enhanced security. The research has been published in the online journal Science Advances.