Dec 25, 2020

New Experiment Reveals How Light Can Push Things Around

Posted by in categories: electronics, particle physics

O,.o Circa 2018

Light might have no mass, but it can still push things around. This is known as radiation pressure. Light particles (photons) carry a momentum with them, but how this momentum is transferred is not exactly clear. However, new research has come up with a way to actually study these interactions between light and matter.

An international team constructed a very special experiment to study the momentum of light. Photons carry a tiny momentum and their effect can only be studied cumulatively. Still, there were no devices sensitive enough to measure the effect. This is why it has been so difficult to study how radiation pressure is converted into force or movement.

As reported in Nature Communications, the team built a mirror fitted with acoustic sensors. They shot laser pulses at the mirror and studied the effects.

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