Physicists just discovered a totally new form of light

Original article from SCIENCE ALERT

Physicists just discovered a totally new form of light – ScienceAlert<img src=”https://d5nxst8fruw4z.cloudfront.net/atrk.gif?account=fnMIk1a4eFf2Io” style=”display:none” height=”1″ width=”1″ alt=””/><img height=”1″ width=”1″ alt=”” style=”display:none” src=”https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1732289343662988&ev=PixelInitialized”/>

Physicists have just discovered a new form of light that doesn’t follow our existing rules of angular momentum,¬†and it could shake up our understanding of the electromagnetic radiation and lead to faster, more secure optical communication.

Because of how well-studied and, well, everywhere, light is, you might assume that we’ve pretty much learnt all there is to know about it. But just last year, researchers identified a fundamental new property of light, and now a team of Irish scientists has shown that light can take on unexpected new forms.

One of the ways we measure a beam of light is through its angular momentum – a constant quantity that measures how much light is rotating. And until now, it was thought that for all forms of light, the angular momentum would be a whole number (known as an integer) multiple of Planck’s constant – a physical constant that sets the scale of quantum effects.

But researchers led by Trinity College Dublin have now demonstrated that a new form of light exists, where the angular momentum is only half of this value.

“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,” said lead researcher Paul Eastham.

Let’s back up for a second here and explain what all that means. READ MORE…

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