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Author Topic:   Faster than light!
coffee_addict
Member (Idle past 564 days)
Posts: 3645
From: Indianapolis, IN
Joined: 03-29-2004


Message 1 of 14 (771416)
10-25-2015 9:12 PM


Page not found - MSN
quote:
Have you ever wondered why we don’t use light to transmit messages? Nothing can travel faster than the speed of light, but while we use light to carry signals along fiber optic cables, we use electrons to process sound and information in our phones and computers. The reason has always been because light particles—photonsare extremely difficult to manipulate, whereas electrons can be manipulated relatively easily.
But now a group of Harvard physicists has taken a major step toward solving that puzzle, and have brought us one step closer to ultra-fast, light-based computers.
The physicists, led by Professor Eric Mazur, have created a material where the phase velocity of light is infinite. Their results were published in Nature Photonics on Oct. 19th.
The phase speed is infinitemuch larger, infinitely larger than the speed of light, Mazur tells Quartz.
Browse Articles | Nature Photonics
Anybody smarter than me can explain how the hell this is possible?

Replies to this message:
 Message 2 by Rrhain, posted 10-25-2015 10:19 PM coffee_addict has replied
 Message 6 by Percy, posted 10-27-2015 8:44 AM coffee_addict has not replied

  
Rrhain
Member (Idle past 95 days)
Posts: 6351
From: San Diego, CA, USA
Joined: 05-03-2003


(2)
Message 2 of 14 (771419)
10-25-2015 10:19 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by coffee_addict
10-25-2015 9:12 PM


The issue I think you're having is that you're thinking solely of the "speed of light" but they're talking about something different.
As the article says:
This doesn’t mean light itself is traveling faster than the speed of light, which would violate the laws of relativity. Phase velocity refers to the speed of the crest of waves that ripple out when light strikes a material.
That is, a photon has a frequency or the number of cycles-per-second as the electromagnetic waves oscillate. We detect the different frequencies of light by its color. Red light doesn't oscillate as fast as violet light.
Now, paired with frequency is amplitude. This is how "tall" the oscillation is. In sound, we detect differences in amplitude as loudness (and frequency is pitch.) You can have the same pitch but if you turn the amplitude down, you'll barely be able to hear it. Turn the amplitude up, and it'll be the only thing you hear.
So let's suppose you had a wave generator. It's generating waves of a specific frequency, but it's set to adjust the amplitude in a wave shape of its own: Slowly getting "louder" and then regressing back to nothing. This, in essence, can be used to set up a "pulse" as it were of the wave. Note, this now means you have two waves in this: The wave of the signal itself and the wave of the variation in the amplitude of the wave. In fact, if you do it right, you can have the frequency of the wave itself (the "group" velocity) traveling in one direction while the amplitude variation portion (the "phase" velocity) is traveling in the opposite direction.
It seems what they've managed to do is to create a material such that the speed with which the phase velocity (the rate at which the amplitude of the light beam is adjusted) can be adjusted is infinitely fast. The ability to have a phase velocity in light allows it to be treated as electrons because these "pulses" can act as particles (for lack of a better word). And by being able to manipulate them quickly, you'd conceivably be able to create a computer out of them just as you would with electrons.
I hope that helps.

Rrhain

Thank you for your submission to Science. Your paper was reviewed by a jury of seventh graders so that they could look for balance and to allow them to make up their own minds. We are sorry to say that they found your paper "bogus," specifically describing the section on the laboratory work "boring." We regret that we will be unable to publish your work at this time.

Minds are like parachutes. Just because you've lost yours doesn't mean you can use mine.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by coffee_addict, posted 10-25-2015 9:12 PM coffee_addict has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 4 by coffee_addict, posted 10-26-2015 9:00 PM Rrhain has not replied

  
JonF
Member (Idle past 255 days)
Posts: 6174
Joined: 06-23-2003


Message 3 of 14 (771445)
10-26-2015 8:18 AM


As I understand it (which may be off) the increased phase velocity cannot be used to transmit information.

  
coffee_addict
Member (Idle past 564 days)
Posts: 3645
From: Indianapolis, IN
Joined: 03-29-2004


(1)
Message 4 of 14 (771518)
10-26-2015 9:00 PM
Reply to: Message 2 by Rrhain
10-25-2015 10:19 PM


The waves, as I understand it, is traveling via the field of the... fuck it I give up.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 2 by Rrhain, posted 10-25-2015 10:19 PM Rrhain has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 5 by RAZD, posted 10-26-2015 9:08 PM coffee_addict has not replied

  
RAZD
Member (Idle past 1492 days)
Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004


Message 5 of 14 (771519)
10-26-2015 9:08 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by coffee_addict
10-26-2015 9:00 PM


"Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine."
Attributed to various people.
Enjoy

we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
RebelAmerican☆Zen☯Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


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This message is a reply to:
 Message 4 by coffee_addict, posted 10-26-2015 9:00 PM coffee_addict has not replied

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 22622
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.7


Message 6 of 14 (771547)
10-27-2015 8:44 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by coffee_addict
10-25-2015 9:12 PM


I wanted to comment on a couple things from that article you linked to: Scientists have found a way to make light waves travel infinitely fast
quote:
Nothing can travel faster than the speed of light, but while we use light to carry signals along fiber optic cables, we use electrons to process sound and information in our phones and computers.
This sort of lends the impression that electrons travel through wires at the speed of light, but their actual speed is only a few centimeters per second. What actually travels through wires at the speed of light is the influence of the electrons (actually, their charge). Push an electron in one end of a wire and at the speed of light an electron will be caused to fall out the other end. But the actual speed of the electrons through the wire is very slow.
quote:
Under these peculiar conditions, the Harvard scientists found that it’s easy to manipulate the photons, squeezing them down to the microscopic scale and turning them around. In other words, we can treat photons in the same way we currently manipulate electrons.
Whatever the author really meant, these are very strange things to say. Photons cannot be "squeezed," and neither can electrons. Does he mean "focused?" He goes on to quote one of the scientists:
quote:
That means the potential commercial uses for this discovery are massive. We won’t see light-based computers yet, as there are still several obstacles to address, but Mazur and his team have overcome a key challenge. Usually, light needs to be handled very carefully and squeezed very slowly, says Mazur. With our material, you relax those constraints completely. You can bend the light, squeeze it, twist it.
I don't know what "squeezing" light means, nor "twisting" it. The "bending" of light is how one normally describes what a lens does. The paper's abstract says the authors are exploring the properties of materials with a refractive index of zero. Refractive indices less than one might be thought to imply speeds greater than light, but the refractive index actually only accounts for the phase velocity of light. I'm now talking over my own head and will refer you to Rrhain.
There will never be faster-than-light computers, because it's physically impossible. There won't even be computers that make decisions using light, because light doesn't interact with itself the way electrons do. There also will never be quantum computers, but that's a topic for another day.
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by coffee_addict, posted 10-25-2015 9:12 PM coffee_addict has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 7 by NoNukes, posted 10-27-2015 4:17 PM Percy has replied

  
NoNukes
Inactive Member


Message 7 of 14 (771595)
10-27-2015 4:17 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by Percy
10-27-2015 8:44 AM


There won't even be computers that make decisions using light, because light doesn't interact with itself the way electrons do.
I find this statement a bit strange. Electronic computers are possible because it is possible to build logic gates that operate on electronic principles. If it is possible to use materials which change an electronic property of a material in response to light, then it should be at least theoretically possible to make an optical logic gate. It is not necessary that light interact directly with light. Besides that, it may be possible to use light interference to make a logic gate of some type.

Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)
History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people. Martin Luther King
If there are no stupid questions, then what kind of questions do stupid people ask? Do they get smart just in time to ask questions? Scott Adams

This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by Percy, posted 10-27-2015 8:44 AM Percy has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 8 by Percy, posted 10-28-2015 8:35 AM NoNukes has replied

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 22622
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.7


Message 8 of 14 (771627)
10-28-2015 8:35 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by NoNukes
10-27-2015 4:17 PM


NoNukes writes:
There won't even be computers that make decisions using light, because light doesn't interact with itself the way electrons do.
I find this statement a bit strange.
Oh, what a surprise. Is there anything I can say that you can't find a strange interpretation?
I had the last couple paragraphs of the article in mind when I wrote that and the preceding sentence that you didn't quote about faster-than-light computers.
quote:
Light-powered telecommunications would allow phones and computers to process information millions of times faster. And because light conserves energy far better than electrons (which tend to waste energy by creating heat), battery lives would be far longer.
It may seem that we already transmit communications pretty fast. But if we could use light to process messages, everything would get a whole lot faster.
Ain't gonna happen for any practical computers or communications. I wasn't commenting on what commercially impractical developments occur in the lab. It would a stupid thing to say that optical gates are impossible, since they already exist.
So to say it again, less ambiguously this time, not only will the future never bring faster-than-light computing or communications, it won't even bring iPhones and XBoxes that use light as a computing medium. Or quantum computers, either. These are my opinions, of course.
Of course, if at some point for some reason optical computing becomes sexy, vendors will start slapping some variation of "optical computer" on their products.
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by NoNukes, posted 10-27-2015 4:17 PM NoNukes has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 9 by NoNukes, posted 10-28-2015 2:48 PM Percy has replied

  
NoNukes
Inactive Member


Message 9 of 14 (771692)
10-28-2015 2:48 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by Percy
10-28-2015 8:35 AM


Oh, what a surprise. Is there anything I can say that you can't find a strange interpretation?
You made a very general statement to the effect that computers would never make decisions with light and gave a specific reason for such a thing being impossible
I agree that the article made a bunch of erroneous statements. But how in the world I, or anyone else was supposed to take any particular statement from the article and tie it to your statement is still not completely clear even after your explanation. The problem is not just ambiguity. Your statement was not correct. Even if your prediction was correct, I don't see anyway to interpret your rationale as being right.
Why are you blaming me for misinterpreting you when you made the ambiguous (if not worse) statement?
ABE:
Some substantial amount of editiing
Edited by NoNukes, : No reason given.
Edited by NoNukes, : No reason given.

Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)
History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people. Martin Luther King
If there are no stupid questions, then what kind of questions do stupid people ask? Do they get smart just in time to ask questions? Scott Adams

This message is a reply to:
 Message 8 by Percy, posted 10-28-2015 8:35 AM Percy has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 10 by Percy, posted 10-28-2015 5:30 PM NoNukes has replied

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 22622
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.7


Message 10 of 14 (771704)
10-28-2015 5:30 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by NoNukes
10-28-2015 2:48 PM


NoNukes writes:
You made a very general statement to the effect that computers would never make decisions with light and gave a specific reason for such a thing being impossible
No, I didn't. Count on you to ignore the article when interpreting comments made about the article.
Why are you blaming me for misinterpreting you when you made the ambiguous (if not worse) statement?
Blame you? Why on earth would I blame you? As the scorpion explained to the frog, he can't be blamed, it's in his nature.
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 9 by NoNukes, posted 10-28-2015 2:48 PM NoNukes has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 11 by NoNukes, posted 10-28-2015 5:48 PM Percy has replied

  
NoNukes
Inactive Member


Message 11 of 14 (771706)
10-28-2015 5:48 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by Percy
10-28-2015 5:30 PM


The statement below, made by you, seems to be a "general statement to the effect that computers would never make decisions with light" as also to state "a specific reason for such a thing being impossible."
There won't even be computers that make decisions using light, because light doesn't interact with itself the way electrons do.
If you've got a different interpretation for your statement, it sure was not evident from your post. I still have no idea what your words are supposed to mean, despite your correction.
As the scorpion explained to the frog, he can't be blamed, it's in his nature.
It appears to be your nature to make sloppy statements and then to insist that others are at fault for misreading you.
Edited by NoNukes, : No reason given.

Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)
History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people. Martin Luther King
If there are no stupid questions, then what kind of questions do stupid people ask? Do they get smart just in time to ask questions? Scott Adams

This message is a reply to:
 Message 10 by Percy, posted 10-28-2015 5:30 PM Percy has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 12 by Percy, posted 10-29-2015 8:07 AM NoNukes has replied

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 22622
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.7


Message 12 of 14 (771741)
10-29-2015 8:07 AM
Reply to: Message 11 by NoNukes
10-28-2015 5:48 PM


Wow, are you insistent. What is the big deal with you on insisting that people (or is it just me) aren't saying what they mean, and that it was so egregious that it's worth post after post complaining about how wrong it was? Why can't you just say, "I didn't understand why you said such-and-so," and then respond, "Thank you for the explanation." Why do you instead have to say things like, "What you said is very [Fill in the blank. Suggested words: strange, wrong, etc.]," and then refuse all explanations and clarifications? You seem to be very literal minded, your thinking often isn't informed about the subject you're commenting on, and so context doesn't seem to mean much to you.
The article was suggesting that one day we'd be using faster-than-light computers using light. I responded in that context that we'd never be using FTL computers, and they'd never be based on light. It wasn't a comment about what can be done in a lab under specialized conditions using special materials. You obviously didn't know that optical logic gates already exist, else you wouldn't have said, "It should be at least theoretically possible to make an optical logic gate," but had you known that my meaning would have been even more obvious than it already was. Though maybe not, since now you do know it but you're railing on anyway.
If you're so intent on finding me wrong, just wait a few years until Dell and HP are selling optical computers. That's what the prognostication was actually about, that it would never happen.
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 11 by NoNukes, posted 10-28-2015 5:48 PM NoNukes has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 13 by NoNukes, posted 10-30-2015 2:56 PM Percy has replied

  
NoNukes
Inactive Member


Message 13 of 14 (771839)
10-30-2015 2:56 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by Percy
10-29-2015 8:07 AM


If you're so intent on finding me wrong
Let me suggest that me finding fault with something you say is not something you need to take personally even if I am wrong. In his case, I said that something you said seemed wrong. Apparently to you that is a personal insult. And your current post just reinforces that.
and then refuse all explanations and clarifications?
In this case your "clarification" came with a personal attack.
That's what the prognostication was actually about, that it would never happen.
And the reason will be because photons do not interact with photons in the way electrons do?

Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)
History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people. Martin Luther King
If there are no stupid questions, then what kind of questions do stupid people ask? Do they get smart just in time to ask questions? Scott Adams

This message is a reply to:
 Message 12 by Percy, posted 10-29-2015 8:07 AM Percy has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 14 by Percy, posted 10-31-2015 9:18 AM NoNukes has not replied

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 22622
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.7


Message 14 of 14 (771855)
10-31-2015 9:18 AM
Reply to: Message 13 by NoNukes
10-30-2015 2:56 PM


NoNukes writes:
Let me suggest that me finding fault with something you say is not something you need to take personally even if I am wrong. In his case, I said that something you said seemed wrong. Apparently to you that is a personal insult. And your current post just reinforces that.
Once? Yes, I'm overreacting. Twice? Probably still overreacting. Numerous times? What the heck is up with you? Give it a break. Go bug someone else.
In this case your "clarification" came with a personal attack.
That's because in previous tte--ttes it has proven well neigh impossible to make you stop, which naturally is very frustrating and causes me to express myself increasingly forcefully. If you don't like criticism, stop being such a huge noodge.
That's what the prognostication was actually about, that it would never happen.
And the reason will be because photons do not interact with photons in the way electrons do?
Why are you asking? It's not like you care. You're just looking for the next thing to nitpick about.
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 13 by NoNukes, posted 10-30-2015 2:56 PM NoNukes has not replied

  
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