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Physicists Have Discovered A New Form Of Light


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For years now, it had been thought that physicists knew everything there was to know about the properties of light. That might change thanks to the discovery of a new form of light that challenges our knowledge of light particles and their properties. What’s more, this new property of light could be used to usher us into an era of high speed optical communication that’s also quite secure.


A beam of light can be characterized by the following three things: its color or wavelength and the angular momentum. The first two seem obvious but the third one – angular momentum – is a indeed a little strange. Every beam of light rotates with a constant quantity and the measure of this rotation is angular momentum.

It has been long established that all forms of light have an angular momentum, that is a whole number multiple of Planck’s Constant. This incredible discovery shakes the understanding of light to its roots.

A team of researchers from Trinity College Dublin have successfully demonstrated that the angular momentum of a beam of light doesn’t always have to be a whole number multiple of the Planck’s Constant – It can be a fractional (one half) multiple of the Planck’s Constant. To make sure that it wasn’t just an error, the researchers came up with a device to measure the angular momentum of screw-like twisted light beams. The experiment confirmed that the angular momentum of these light beams was one half of the Planck’s Constant.

This discovery is indeed a major breakthrough in the world of Physics. It will not only revolutionize our understanding of light but it will also help physicists come up with methods for faster optical fiber communication.

The research has been published in Science Advances.

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Asad Khan

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5 Comments to Physicists Have Discovered A New Form Of Light

  1. the color of light results of the wavelenght, so just wavelenght and angular momentum characterize a beam of light. mabye its intensity, too, but color and wavelenght are the same things.

  2. MSci Physics

    Whoever wrote this article has very little knowledge when it comes to light – Its GCSE level knowledge that the wavelength of light determines its colour so they are clearly not separate properties.
    Pretty poor that this article was not checked by anyone above the age of 15 before being published – what a joke!

  3. Jonathan Apps

    If you look at the paper in Science Advances you’ll see that they’re only claiming the half-integer thing happens in *reduced dimensions*, e.g. 2D. We live in 3D and it should always be a full integer times Planck’s constant. This is a purely theoretical paper – very interesting but not a breakthrough discovrty of a new form of light in the real world.

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