Feeds

Light ties itself in knots - spontaneously

Beautiful physics

Intelligent flash storage arrays

It’s not only possible to get light to tie itself in knots: given the right conditions, it will do so spontaneously, according to a paper published last week in Nature.

El Reg has no possible hope of fully understanding this paper (published in full, an emerging trend we welcome), but one really interesting idea is right there in the abstract:

“We anticipate similar spontaneous knot topology to be a universal feature of waves whose phase front is twisted and nonlinearly modulated, including superfluids and trapped matter waves.” [Emphasis added]

In other words, this research has the potential to be replicated not only to create “knotted waves” of light, but of waves in more tangible stuff.

The superposition Spirograph: different modes of

the knotted soliton. Source: Nature

“Knotted light” is already feature of research into things like optical tweezers and quantum computing. However, according to ANU researcher Dr Anton Desyatnikov, previous demonstrations have been painstakingly hand-made using carefully-engineered lasers.

“[W]hat we’ve been working on are models in which the knots spontaneously form on their own”, he said. “Apart from their curiosity value, what’s really interesting and useful about these knots of darkness is that they show you what the power flow is doing.”

“Our models suggest that you have to get the key parameters of the light in a certain range before you can easily tie the light in knots but once you do, the knots are virtually guaranteed … we can’t predict exactly where they will form. Just that under these specific circumstances the optical vortices will spontaneously nucleate and tie themselves into little knots.” ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
'Utter killjoy Reg hacks have NEVER BEEN LAID', writes a fan
'Shuddit, smarty pants!' Some readers reacted badly to our last Doctor Who review ...
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
White LED lies: It's great, but Nobel physics prize-winning great?
How artificial lighting could offer an artificial promise
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.