Physics for the first time in history got a “liquid light” at room temperature, making this unusual form of matter is more accessible than ever. It is a mixture of a superfluid, with no friction and viscosity, and some kind of condensate Bose — Einstein, which is often called the fifth state of matter. These properties allow light to actually wrap around in front of him around objects and corners.
Ordinary light usually shows properties of waves and sometimes of particles always moves in a straight line. That is why our eyes, for example, are not able to see around corners. However, under certain very extreme environmental conditions, the light can also behave like a liquid, acquiring the ability to wrap around objects.
Interest to science condensates Bose — Einstein idea in the first place due to its aggregate state, when the rules by which they operate, are on the verge of classical and quantum physics, when solid matter begins to acquire rather wave properties. Typically, this condensate is created at temperatures close to absolute zero, and can exist literally within a few fractions of a second.
But in the latest study, researchers were able to create a condensate of Bose — Einstein at normal room temperature using the “frankensteinesque” the set of matter and light.
“The peculiarity of our work is that we demonstrated the possibility of creating a state of superfluidity at room ambient temperature, using particles of light material, called polaritons,” says lead researcher Daniele Sanvitto from the Italian CNR Institute of nanotechnology NANOTEC.
The creation of polaritons demanded that researchers use very expensive equipment and technology nanotechnology level. The scientists placed between two mirrors ultrarefractory layer of organic molecules with a thickness of 130 nanometers and passed through his 35-femtosecond laser pulses (1 femtosecond is equal to 1 ordinary share quadrillion seconds).
“Thus, inside the organic molecules we were able to combine the properties of the photon effective mass and speed – and especially the relationship of electrons,” says Stephanie Ken Cohen from Ecole Polytechnique of Montreal (Canada).
The result is a “overheadcosts” with very unusual properties. Under normal conditions of temperature when the liquid will have the ability to flow on its surface under an external impact may be generated by the ripples and swirls. Overheadcosts such a response is not showing.
In the image below, you can see how the flow of polaritons, directed in the usual liquid, creates waves, while inside sverigekarta (lower image) to this feature it does not show.
“Among sverigekarta this turbulence is absorbed in her barriers, allowing the flow to continue its motion without any distortion,” says Ken Cohen.
Scientists say that the results of these studies not only pave the way to new studies of the peculiarities of quantum hydrodynamics, but also to the creation of devices and future technologies that will be able to use polaritons in normal conditions. We are talking about new types of superconducting materials which can be used in the production of a new generation of LEDs, solar panels and lasers.
“The fact that a similar effect is observed when the normal conditions of the environment opens up many possibilities for future work,” say the researchers.
“It’s not only a new milestone in the study of such phenomena as condensates Bose — Einstein, but the way to potential development of futuristic photonic devices based on superfluid liquids in which the problem of distortion is completely absent, and instead will open the door to other new, unexpected phenomena”.
The results of the work of Italian physicists was published in the latest issue of the journal Nature Physics.