By: April Carson
A new form of liquid light can be made by trapping nanoparticles between two sheets of glass and injecting electricity into the mix. The electric field changes according to an algorithm that encodes information onto photons—the smallest particles of light—in a way that the resulting glowing liquid can read.
Scientists have finally created a photonic molecule, which behaves as if it had mass. When light is combined with other particles to create an artificial molecular compound in 2013 there was no precedent for this type of bonding before-theorized and called “photonic molecules” by 2007 scientists who predicted their potential existence seven years earlier due the strong electromagnetic forces that bind together these two types of energy sources without any rest masses between them – something not possible through classical physics alone when matter has only been found experimentally so far at relativistic speeds (approaching the speed of light).
These photonic molecules form when photons are trapped by a surrounding shell of crystalline material, which can utilize these photonic properties to sustain chemical reactions that create new chemical bonds.
The two-dimensional case of light, which replicates the behavior of interacting atomic energy levels, consists of photons confined to two or more coupled micro-optical cavities. As a result, it has also been referred to as a photonic molecule, which is a different – but not identical – meaning to the first.
We can now add a new sub-case to the list of possible light interactions. This time, instead of just taking up space and energy like in our previous examples with atoms or molecules, it would seem that photons also have an effect on matter at microscopic levels by interacting directly (and oppositely) as dipoles themselves!
A key example is semiconductors. When electron-hole pairs come together inside the lattice, they create something called a polariton, which behaves similarly to other bosonic particles. We might learn more if we do more research on it.
In the absence of polaritons, conventional liquid light was formerly only available at a cryogenic temperature. Polaritons are required in order for superfluidity to occur at room temperature, therefore the experimental setup is more complicated.
The light of a polariton is determined by its spin. When confined in one place, they condense into an superfluid that can emit clockwise or counterclockwise spinning photons with the electric field changing accordingly to encode information onto them and send it through optical fibers for translation from electrical domain into optically recognizable form.
The spinning up or down of the polariton fluid is what transforms light emission into a spin encoded binary code that may be transmitted over optical fibers and translated from the electrical realm to the optical domain. As a result, the Liquid Light is being considered as a means of information transmission beyond Moore's law.
Superfluidity means that a normal fluid will move back and forth or stay still. But a superfluid will not because it has no viscosity. The difference is that the second kind of fluid doesn't have any viscosity.
The superfluidity state can be imagined as a fifth state of matter. Superfluidity is a condition observed in Bose Einstein condensates, which primarily occur in particles that are capable of forming cooper pairs, such as electrons.
One step closer to room temperature light. This electric plasma state of matter (liquid light) has been theoretically predicted—it's like what you imagine when you think of a plasma "cloud," or superheated electric gas. But in this case, the cloud sits still and does not float away because each particle is bound to an optical cavity, keeping it within the liquid's surface.