At MIT, we have created a new form of light
If you conduct a little experiment and cross beams of two flashlights, you will find that nothing is going to happen (unless, of course, except for increased brightness). This is explained by the fact that the light photons do not interact with each other, but rather pass through each other as ghosts. But what if it was not so, and particles of light similar to an ordinary atom can attract and repel each other? It is possible that in such a case, the rays of light complement each other, merging into a single powerful luminous flux.
This may seem like a fantasy, impossible under our existing laws of physics. However, experts from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have found a way how to make the photons interact with each other. Portal Science Daily describes an experiment in which scientists were able to dazzle each other three particles of light, thus forming an entirely new kind of light.
Similar experiments were successful and another in 2013. Then the scientists were able to capture the interaction of pairs of photons. In the new work the researchers raised the possibility to link three or more light particles. They have missed a very weak laser beam through the cloud ultracold rubidium atoms and outlet noted that photons are combined in pairs and triplets. Unlike free photons without mass and moving at a speed of 300,000 km per second, the photons in the experiment gained weight and the proportion of the electron slowed approximately 100 thousand times. To explain this phenomenon, scientists have developed a special physical model. According to researchers, a few photons passing through a dense cloud of rubidium, jump from one atom to another. At the same time they become so-called polaritons - half photons, atoms half. They can interact with each other, connecting via their atomic constituents. At the exit from the cloud polaritons again converted into photons, but retain the connection. That is to say, "remember" your physical condition inside the cloud.
Scientists note that the related photons can be considered as confusing, which allows their use in optical fiber and opens up new possibilities for communication and quantum computing.
Researchers hope to discover other interesting forms of interaction of photons, for example, repulsive or perhaps even the formation of the correct patterns and crystals.