Physicists turn to Maxwell’s equations for self-bending light

Apr 21, 2012 by Nancy Owano weblog

(Phys.org) -- Can light self-bend into an arc? Can shape-preserving optical beams truly bend along a circular path? A confident answer emerged in this week’s Physical Review Letters. Researchers at Israel’s Technion reported their findings, saying that solutions to Maxwell’s equations suggest it is possible. They have found solutions to Maxwell's equations— the equations governing electromagnetism--that precisely describe initial phases required for truly self-bending light.

Light travels in a straight line; beams tend to propagate along a straight path. Under forced circumstances—with use of mirrors, lenses, and light guides--light can take a more circuitous path, What has interested some scientists is whether or not light beams can bend themselves along a curved path with no external cause.

What is more, the new report involves wave solutions to Maxwell’s equations that are nondiffracting and capable of following a tighter circular trajectory than was previously thought possible.

The authors said in the report that “We have found nonparaxial accelerating beams and nonparaxial periodically oscillating accelerating beams. These beams are the full vector solutions of Maxwell’s equation for shape-preserving accelerating beams. Moreover, in their scalar form, these beams are the exact solutions for nondispersive accelerating wave packets of the simple and most common wave equation describing time-harmonic waves.”

The study, titled “Nondiffracting Accelerating Wave Packets of Maxwell’s Equations,” by Ido Kaminer, Rivka Bekenstein, Jonathan Nemirovsky, and Mordechai Segev, joins a body of related light-bending research.

Reaching into the research background, ScienceNOW described some study markers, going back to the late 1970s, when physicists at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom and State University of New York said that an Airy waveform, a wave describing how quantum particles move, can sometimes bend by a small amount. In 2007, physicists at the University of Central Florid generated optical versions of Airy waves by manipulating laser light, and found that the resultant beam curved slightly as it crossed a detector.

The Technion examination is unique in that the scientists claim they figured out how to make light self-bend through any angle, even through a complete circle. (The problem with the Airy function, said study coauthor Mordechai Segev, is that the shape of its oscillations specify the right phases only at small angles.)

Commenting on this week’s findings, Zhigang Chen, a physics professor at San Francisco State University, said in Physics that implications of their work are profound for other linear wave systems in nature, from sound and surface waves in fluids to many kinds of classical waves.”One would expect that the nonparaxial Bessel-like accelerating beams proposed in this study could be readily realized in experiment. Apart from many exciting opportunities for these beams in various applications, such as beams that self-bend around an obstacle one might expect one day light could really travel around a circle by itself, bringing the search for an ‘optical boomerang’ into reality.”

The study authors say that future work should examine the possibility of 3-D accelerating beams, including those with trajectories that do not lie in a single plane. “In practical terms, this work brings accelerating beam optics into the subwavelength regime, through the less-than-wavelength features of our solutions, facilitating higher resolution for particle manipulation.”

Via Physics Viewpoint and ScienceNOW

Explore further: Information storage for the next generation of plastic computers

More information: Phys. Rev. Lett. 108(16). doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.108.163901

Related Stories

Bend breakthrough sends light around a corner

Aug 12, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Australian National University scientists have successfully bent light beams around an object on a two dimensional metal surface, opening the door to faster and cheaper computer chips working ...

Emerging from the vortex

Feb 17, 2012

Whether a car or a ball, the forces acting on a body moving in a straight line are very different to those acting on one moving in tight curves. This maxim also holds true at microscopic scales. As such, a ...

Quantum memory for communication networks of the future

Nov 08, 2010

Researchers from the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen have succeeded in storing quantum information using two 'entangled' light beams. Quantum memory or information storage is a necessary ...

Squeezed light from single atoms

Jun 30, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics scientists generate amplitude-squeezed light fields using single atoms trapped inside optical cavities.

Recommended for you

How to test the twin paradox without using a spaceship

16 hours ago

Forget about anti-ageing creams and hair treatments. If you want to stay young, get a fast spaceship. That is what Einstein's Theory of Relativity predicted a century ago, and it is commonly known as "twin ...

User comments : 27

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

kochevnik
1.4 / 5 (10) Apr 21, 2012
Of course light can be bent. All matter is simply EM waves bent over on themselves. In other words, matter is trapped scalar waves.

The trick is to set up the interference pattern that is stable with the inflow and outflow of phase waves.
Noumenon
1.2 / 5 (6) Apr 21, 2012
Of course light can be bent. All matter is simply EM waves bent over on themselves. In other words, matter is trapped scalar waves.


I think that you a're bent over on yourself.

If that were true matter wouldn't be stable, and then there is mass versus massless,...
roboferret
3.3 / 5 (9) Apr 21, 2012
The potential for long range communications is huge, if this could be used for over-the-horizon high frequency transmissions it would make a lot of expensive comms satellites redundant. I bet the military are salivating at the idea of long range laser artillery too.
gwrede
1 / 5 (3) Apr 21, 2012
How about a bent laser cannon on the parking lot of the Pentagon, with which you could zap anybody on the entire planet?

I can see the military just drooling.
Lurker2358
3.3 / 5 (14) Apr 21, 2012
Has implications for astronomy and cosmology.

If light can self-bend then this may make searches for "gravitational lensing" futile, or give false positives.
Terriva
1.4 / 5 (8) Apr 21, 2012
Bending of light with artificial "black hole" made of metamaterial foam mimics the spreading of light with density fluctuations of vacuum.
cyberstealth
3.6 / 5 (8) Apr 21, 2012
The photons themselves do not really curve.

The wave phases are controlled at the source to make the light traveling outward interfere constructively only at points on a curve and cancel out everywhere else.

Thus, this cannot be used to make light curve around a solid object, such as the earth.
Au-Pu
1 / 5 (5) Apr 21, 2012
robo ferret over the horizon radar was developed in Australia in the late 1980's and acquired by the USA soon after. The system developed in Australia is capable of detecting stealth aircraft.

lurker2358 is the only contributor to make an intelligent and related comment. This could have profound effects in Astronomy.
roboferret
4 / 5 (8) Apr 21, 2012
Au-Pu
I didn't mention over the horizon radar, I was already aware of it, and it's limitations.
Over the horizon radar uses ionospheric reflection, which requires a narrow frequency range, It's the same principle used by ham radio; it's not particularly useful for high bandwidth communications. If more frequencies could be bent over the horizon it would make long range high bandwidth communications possible without satellites. That's not an irrelevant comment, you should do a little research before down-voting people.
c0y0te
not rated yet Apr 21, 2012
Well, this definitely sounds like something Ronald Mallett could use for building his time machine.
Shootist
3 / 5 (4) Apr 21, 2012
robo ferret over the horizon radar was developed in Australia in the late 1980's and acquired by the USA soon after. The system developed in Australia is capable of detecting stealth aircraft.


The radar doesn't bend it is reflected by the Heaviside Layer. (look it up).
Newbeak
not rated yet Apr 21, 2012
Well, this definitely sounds like something Ronald Mallett could use for building his time machine.

Just what I was thinking.Wonder how the good doctor is doing in his research?
kochevnik
1 / 5 (3) Apr 21, 2012
Of course light can be bent. All matter is simply EM waves bent over on themselves. In other words, matter is trapped scalar waves.
I think that you a're bent over on yourself.

If that were true matter wouldn't be stable, and then there is mass versus massless,...
Well you are right matter can never be bend over itself. Indeed tornadoes and hurricanes aren't stable and are purely imaginary constructs. Oh wait.

Waves in a line are energy and waves in a circle are mass. E=MC^2 simply said that light can be looped back on itself to make mass of energy.

Now Maxwell's equations are for the study of transverse waves. They don't adapt well to torsion waves, which create the scaffolding for matter to hang on.
Terriva
2.3 / 5 (3) Apr 21, 2012
Under forced circumstanceswith use of mirrors, lenses, and light guides--light can take a more circuitous path, What has interested some scientists is whether or not light beams can bend themselves along a curved path with no external cause.
Airy beams are always formed inside of strongly coupled resonator systems only - without it they cannot exist. In this sense the above solution has nothing to do with "self-bending light". In addition, to form "nondifracting beam" a huge portion of light must be diffracted off at the price.
kochevnik
1 / 5 (1) Apr 22, 2012
Airy beams are always formed inside of strongly coupled resonator systems only - without it they cannot exist. In this sense the above solution has nothing to do with "self-bending light".
Yes light can be bent in a self-similar vortex which creates the necessary interference. Through this mechanism atoms are made as well as electrons and their quasiparticiles which, coincidentally, cannot leave the atom or fermi fluid wavefunction because they are an intrinsic part of the standing wave.
vacuum-mechanics
1.3 / 5 (4) Apr 22, 2012
Talking about Maxwell equations, it is interesting to note that nowadays physicists do not believe how James Kirk Maxwell himself derived his equation. But they still accept the equations, why, and could we give a better way of the derivation? Below is one way to do so!

http://www.vacuum...id=21=en
KBK
1 / 5 (2) Apr 22, 2012
James Clerk Maxwell's equations were derived from a deep set of observations on the works of Micheal Faraday. specifically Faraday's work with electricity conducted through liquid mercury.

There were a complex set toroidal and rotational field conditions derived from those observations.

To simplify for engineers, so the complex '20 equations in 20 unknowns' would not have to be solved, Heaviside removed the small bits that described some of the 'outlier' field considerations.

Heaviside removed the inherent asymmetry and the resonance or elasticity that Maxwell found in the complex 3d and temporal field considerations. This, so engineers could work the math for solids, specifically motor design.

Then Lorentz modified for complete symmetry, via financing by JP Morgan (replaced all USA texts at his expense). Seriously. Look it up.

Einstein failed when he proposed the symmetry, this...due to working with Heaviside's modifications, not Maxwell's original works.

There you have it.
Occupodies
not rated yet Apr 22, 2012
The photons themselves do not really curve.

The wave phases are controlled at the source to make the light traveling outward interfere constructively only at points on a curve and cancel out everywhere else.

Thus, this cannot be used to make light curve around a solid object, such as the earth.


Huh no... that's not what the article is stating, it finds solutions that do not require interference.
nuge
not rated yet Apr 22, 2012
Sounds like an interesting way to store energy to me.
vidyunmaya
1 / 5 (3) Apr 22, 2012
Sub:Learn from Nature-Philosophy
In-fusion- Enlightenment - Cosmology Vedas Interlinks help science to progress.
Crackpot
3 / 5 (2) Apr 23, 2012
An alternative explanation of the elementary elements is entirely based on self-bending/circular EM waves: http://classicala...pot.com/
TkClick
5 / 5 (1) Apr 23, 2012
assuming that the charged particle appears in a coiled configuration and that the 180° twist is effectively concentrated near the node of the enclosed wave.
You got the point - check the model of electron and proton/neutron loops. You may want to search for QUITAR theory of Quantoken, which is based on similar simple math.
EvgenijM
3 / 5 (2) Apr 23, 2012
If electrons and other particles are a form of self-looped rotating EM-wave, then it explains why atoms have mass (they are like a complex gyroscope).
TkClick
1 / 5 (1) Apr 23, 2012
If electrons and other particles are a form of self-looped rotating EM-wave, then it explains why atoms have mass (they are like a complex gyroscope).
In official physics EM-wave has no mass, only momentum.
hjbasutu
not rated yet Apr 25, 2012
I see..these guys have been playing around with Maxwell's original Quaternion equations..and i wonder how long it will take them to also appreciate free energy.
Nanowill
1 / 5 (1) Apr 27, 2012
"All matter is localized EM energy"..Dirac.
The quantum unit of gravitational energy is mq.c^2 = 6.792MeV.
The electron is 2mq.alpha^2/3.
The proton is mq.alpha^-1. Small adjustment ~ (1 alpha) required for rotation.
G = hbar.c/(2mq.c^2)^2 Gravity acts between local energies, c in denominator is 3 x 10^10 due to Cavendish using cgs units.
Details @ http:RethinkingPhysics.com/
Terriva
1 / 5 (2) Apr 27, 2012
"All matter is localized EM energy"..Dirac.
The EM energy is mediated with transverse waves and such paradigm may be useful and effective at the certain mass/energy density scale. But is it universally valid? For example dark matter (accounting to 23% of the Universe matter) has nothing very much to do with EM energy. In this case the scalar energy (energy of gravitational waves, i.e. longitudinal waves of vacuum) may account to the matter of Universe in more pronounced way. In dense aether model the neutrinos are localized waves (i.e. solitons) of longitudinal waves of vacuum in similar, but dual way, like the photons are solitons of transverse waves. The analogy with Russel's and Falaco solitons formed at water surface emerges here on mind.

More news stories

Progress in the fight against quantum dissipation

(Phys.org) —Scientists at Yale have confirmed a 50-year-old, previously untested theoretical prediction in physics and improved the energy storage time of a quantum switch by several orders of magnitude. ...

Meteorites yield clues to Martian early atmosphere

(Phys.org) —Geologists who analyzed 40 meteorites that fell to Earth from Mars unlocked secrets of the Martian atmosphere hidden in the chemical signatures of these ancient rocks. Their study, published ...