Anybody who’s at least a bit interested in astronomy has heard about black holes and their phenomenal ability to engulf anything that gets too close. Initially, physicists thought that nothing could possibly escape the huge gravitational grip of a black hole.
The working of vacuums was also explored, and around fifty years ago, the great physicist Stephen Hawking was describing how light can escape the gravitational pull of a black hole. During the same time, William Unruh, a Canadian physicist, brought the proposal that a photoreactor could be able to see the light in a vacuum under certain conditions. SciTechDaily.com tells us about these studies, and also about new research from Darthmouth that tackles the theories by revealing how to produce light that was once thought impossible.
Miles Blencowe, the senior researcher of the study, declared as quoted by SciTechDaily.com:
In an everyday sense, the findings seem to surprisingly suggest the ability to produce light from the empty vacuum,
We have, in essence produced something from nothing; the thought of that is just very cool.
The video’s description is relevant enough:
In the proposed experiment, illustrated here, a postage stamp-sized synthetic diamond membrane containing nitrogen-based light detectors is suspended in a super-cooled metal box that creates a vacuum. The membrane, which acts like a tethered trampoline, is accelerated at massive rates, producing photons.
Credit: Animation by LaDarius Dennison/Dartmouth College
Despite what common sense might tell us, the vacuum is far from “empty”, scientifically speaking. Quantum physics teaches us that the vacuum is filled with photons that fluctuate in and out of existence. Oddly enough, measuring such light is a serious challenge for physicists since it cannot be done for now.
The new study was published in Communications Physics.