Until now, we have all knew that light is created through photons that have no mass and travel at 300,000 km/s, and will not interact with other photons. Imagine two flashlights in a dark room that have their beams crossed. you’ll see that the beams don’t interact, they just pass through.
Photons Can Interact and Gain Mass
That is what it was known, but recently, in the ‘Observation of three-photon bound states in a quantum nonlinear medium’, a report published in the journal Science, says otherwise.
Vladan Vuletic (Lester Wolfe Professor of Physics at MIT) and Professor Mikhail Lukin (Harvard University) are the team leader of this report and they have noticed that photons interact and create a form of light or a new kind of photonic matter.
They have seen the phenomenon when ran a test, using a very dense cloud of ultracold rubidium atoms through which they shone a weak laser beam. The professors expected to see single photons exiting the rubidium cloud, but they saw pairs or triplets, meaning that photons have a kind of interaction. Not only there was some interaction, but the photons also got a little mass (a fraction of an electron’s mass) and their speed lowered (100,000 times slower than usual).
A Leap in Quantum Computing
What does this discovery mean?
Vladan Vuletic explains that light has been used a lot lately in transmitting information through optical fibers because it travels so fast in very long distances. He stated that ‘if photons can influence one another, then if you can entangle these photons, and we’ve done that, you can use them to distribute quantum information in an interesting and useful way’.
We will have to keep an eye on their research and see how their results will influence the future, causing a huge leap in quantum computing.