This Exotic State of Light Acts Like a ‘Liquid’

From Seeker.

Recently, researchers found that under the right conditions, light can behave like a liquid that flows in unison. That’s right — liquid light.
» Subscribe to Seeker! http://bit.ly/subscribeseeker
» Watch more Elements! http://bit.ly/ElementsPlaylist
» Visit our shop at http://shop.seeker.com
» Sign Up for Seeker’s Newsletter! https://www.seeker.com/newsletters

Light has been a favorite subject of study since pretty much forever and it still has more amazing hidden properties waiting to be discovered. Recently researchers found that under the right conditions, light can behave like a liquid with particles that flow in unison. That’s right—liquid light. Well, that’s not quite right. “Liquid” is a useful analogy…but it implies the light is in a liquid state, when really it’s in a more exotic state of matter, namely a Bose-Einstein condensate, or BEC.

Sometimes called the 5th state of matter, after solids, liquids, gasses, and plasma, a BEC is created when a group of particles acts as one giant superparticle. This can be done using entire atoms like rubidium and potassium cooled to near absolute zero.

Like photons, atoms behave like both waves and particles, and as they cool to extreme temperatures they lose momentum and their wavelengths blur together. Pioneering Indian physicist Satyendra Nath Bose and Albert Einstein predicted they could exist nearly a century ago. Because they require such low temperatures, Einstein thought it would be impossible to actually observe one. Turns out the impossible became possible in 1995, when the first Bose-Einstein condensate was created using roughly 2,000 rubidium atoms. A different technique for creating Bose-Einstein condensates out of light was discovered in 2010, and interestingly, it involves much more reasonable temperatures. When cooled, photons have a tendency to vanish into the walls of whatever is containing them.

#seeker #science #elements #liguidlight #photons

Read More:

‘Liquid’ light shows social behaviour
https://phys.org/news/2021-10-liquid-social-behaviour.html
"Jan Klärs and his team found that the liquid decides for itself which path to take by adjusting its frequency of oscillation. In this case, the photons try to stay together by choosing the path that leads to the lowest losses—the channel with the closed end."

The first ever photograph of light as both a particle and wave
https://actu.epfl.ch/news/the-first-ever-photograph-of-light-as-both-a-parti/
"Since the days of Einstein, scientists have been trying to directly observe both of these aspects of light at the same time. Now, scientists at EPFL have succeeded in capturing the first-ever snapshot of this dual behavior."

5 Things Every Human Should Know About Light
https://www.wired.com/2015/02/5-things-every-human-know-light/
"What if you are in a place with absolutely no source of light?… One of the very common answers is that you will see everything as black – at first. These humans will also say that after some time your eyes will adjust and then you WILL see something. The correct answer is that you will just see black – forever."
____________________

Elements is more than just a science show. It’s your science-loving best friend, tasked with keeping you updated and interested in the compelling, innovative, and groundbreaking science that’s happening all around us. Join our passionate hosts as they help break down and present fascinating science, from quarks to quantum theory and beyond.

Seeker empowers the curious to understand the science shaping our world. We tell award-winning stories about the natural forces and groundbreaking innovations that impact our lives, our planet, and our universe.

Visit the Seeker website https://www.seeker.com/videos

Elements on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/SeekerElements/

Subscribe now! http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=dnewschannel

Seeker on Twitter http://twitter.com/seeker

Seeker on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/SeekerMedia/

Seeker http://www.seeker.com/