Researchers studying the interactions between light particles, photons and matter have found that optical microcavities contain quasiparticles formed by two photons. Physical Review Research reports.
Scientists from the University of Bath have found a way to tie two photons of different colors together. In physics, multicolored photons are, in fact, particles responsible for light with different wavelengths. The discovery will lead to new advances in quantum electrodynamics. It is a field of science that describes the interaction of light and matter. Over time, the team’s findings are likely to influence the development of optical and quantum communications, as well as precision measurements of frequency, time and distance.
Most people find that the concept of momentum and energy (and therefore mass) is easy to understand when it is associated with solid objects. But the idea that intangible objects like light waves also have mass is surprising to many. However, this is a well-known fact among physicists. This seemingly paradoxical idea that waves have mass is where quantum physics and the physical world meet.
Wave-particle dualism, proposed by the French physicist Louis de Broglie in 1924, is a concept that describes how each particle or quantum entity can be described as a particle or wave. Throughout the history of research, many so-called quasiparticles have been discovered, which combine two different types of particles of matter, or light waves associated with a particle of matter. The list of exotic quasiparticles includes phonons, plasmons, magnons, and polaritons.
A team of physicists from the University of Bath reported on a way to create quasiparticles that bind together two different colored particles of light. They called these formations photon-photon polaritons.
The ability to detect and control photons-photons is possible thanks to the relatively new development of high-quality microcavities.
An important feature revealed in the Bath study is that the microcavity provided a whole set of split resonances, where each photon-photon pair displayed its own momentum and energy, allowing the researchers to apply the concept of quasiparticles and calculate the mass. According to the predictions of the researchers, photons-photons are 1000+ times lighter than electrons.