Scientists Create Light Knots

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“In a light beam, the flow of light through space is similar to water flowing in a river. Although it often flows in a straight line—out of a torch, laser pointer, etc—light can also flow in whirls and eddies, forming lines in space called ‘optical vortices.'”

REPORTER’S NOTE: Like Time, Light is a phenomenally powerful tool God created for our benefit and for His glory. Can’t you just see Him, with a sweep of His mighty hand (like earthlings on their touch screen phones!) manipulating light in marvelous ways? Why, how often is it a movement of His Holy Light that brings illumination to us, or heals us of an affliction, or renews and re-energizes us in inexplicable ways? If man can tie light into knots, what incredible things can God do with it? -Teresa Neumann, BCN.

“Then the angel of God, who had been traveling in front of Israel’s army, withdrew and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved from in front and stood behind them, coming between the armies of Egypt and Israel. Throughout the night the cloud brought darkness to the one side and light to the other side; so neither went near the other all night long.” -Exodus 14:19-20

Knotted LightThe remarkable feat of tying light into knots has been achieved by a team of physicists from the universities of Bristol, Glasgow and Southampton, UK, reports a paper in Nature Physics this week.

Understanding how to control light in this way has important implications for laser technology used in a wide range of industries.

Dr. Mark Dennis from the University of Bristol and lead author on the paper, explained: “In a light beam, the flow of light through space is similar to water flowing in a river. Although it often flows in a straight line—out of a torch, laser pointer, etc—light can also flow in whirls and eddies, forming lines in space called ‘optical vortices’.

“Along these lines, or optical vortices, the intensity of the light is zero (black). The light all around us is filled with these dark lines, even though we can’t see them.”

Optical vortices can be created with holograms which direct the flow of light. In this work, the team designed holograms using knot theory—a branch of abstract mathematics inspired by knots that occur in shoelaces and rope. Using these specially designed holograms they were able to create knots in optical vortices.

This new research demonstrates a physical application for a branch of mathematics previously considered completely abstract.

Professor Miles Padgett from Glasgow University, who led the experiments, said: “The sophisticated hologram design required for the experimental demonstration of the knotted light shows advanced optical control, which undoubtedly can be used in future laser devices.”

Source: Science Daily

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