Super-Photons Used For Good, Not Evil
Super-photons may be able to provide a way to encode yet more information on CDs; more powerful computers and higher data security may also be possible. This is not your father's Thessian super-proton technology.
University of Toronto quantum optics researcher Morgan Mitchel has been entangling photons (light conceived of as small packets of energy). At the quantum level, a phenomenon called "entanglement" is observed, in which two or more particles become linked in such a way that any action that affects one affects all the others - no matter what the distance between them. This phenomenon can cause a set of multiple photons to behave as if they were one. Three photons could behave as a single photon, but with three times the energy.
"It looks like a super-photon," said Mitchell. "For this experiment, the hardest part was making them indistinguishable, which means not just putting them in the same location, but making sure they're there at the same time, that they are the same color, and going in the same direction. You have to guarantee all of these (aspects) at once."
(From Compact Disks and Digital Versatile Disks)
So how can a super-photon result in greater density of data storage? CDs store data in patterns of tiny pits about a half-micron wide. The problem with CDs is that the smallest size pit that can be used is dependent on the wavelength of light that is used to see it (the diffraction limit). By entangling photons, a super-photon with three times the energy can beat the diffraction limit, giving resolution that is three times better. Better resolution means that the pits can be smaller and closer together, resulting in more storage.
The science fiction reference to the Thessians comes from John W. Campbell's 1932 novel Invaders From The Infinite, in which the evil Thessians make use of a mysterious ray that effortlessly slices through the all but invulnerable cosmium shielding of ships. The scientist-heroes of the book offer the following analysis:
"It's a super-photon. What they do is use a field somewhat similar to the field we use in making cosmium, except that in theirs, instead of the photons lying side by side, they slide into one another, compounding. They evidently get three photons to go into one." (More)
See Super-Photons Could Make For Better Disc Media Players. (Thanks to Winchell Chung for the idea for this story.)
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 5/19/2004)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )
Related News Stories -
ODYSSEUS Solar-Powered Stratospheric Plane Flies Forever
'The planes flew continuously, twenty-four hours a day...' - EB White, 1950.
Phil Nuyttnn's City Under The Sea
''Under the lower roof there was no water, but a clear and luminous atmosphere...' - Andre Laurie, 1895.
Stick-On Tape Speakers, As Predicted By Bruce Sterling
Flexible tape speakers, someday.
Has Climate Change Already Been Solved By Aliens?
'I had explained," said Nessus, "that our civilisation was dying in its own waste heat.' - Larry Niven, 1970.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Wound Healing With Wearable Nanogenerators
'... forcing the energy transfer which allowed him to ... erase the other internal-external damage.'
Flying Dragon Robot Transforms In Mid-Air
Terrific prototype video.
Negative Matter Fluid Theorized In New Paper
'Of course, being negative matter, when you push it, it comes toward you..'
Grow Structures Upon Planetfall - Myco-Architecture
'They'll also start pulling in gases and liquids from the local atmosphere...'
MXene Hydrogel Skin For Robots Flexes And Senses
'The plastex swam and whirled like boiling toothpaste...'
EXPLORER, The First Total-Body Scanner
'The object is built up of an infinite series of plane layers, at the focus of the ray...'
UK Police AI To Stop Criminals Before They Strike
'... the computing mechanisms that studied and restructured the incoming material.'
Sonitus Audio Interface Positioned Beyond The Noise
'... an instrument having relatively small bit pieces adapted to be gripped between the teeth.'
Volvo's Self-Driving Mining Trucks
'A procession of automatic ore carts was racing over the bleak slag'
Audi Pop.Up Autonomous Electric Flying Car
'The cab was an egg-shaped bubble of light metals and plastics...'
Music Not Impossible (MNI) Vibrotactile Wearable Experience
Don't you want to experience the 'feely' effects?
Chinese Face Recognition Mistakes Bus Ad For Jaywalker
'... the imprint of her image on the telephoto cell.'
A Look Back At Apollo's Emergency Escape Vehicle
'A simple mechanism... it drove the iron ball through space like a ship.'
InMotion Glide 3 Electric Unicycle For The Last Mile
'...gyro-stabilized on a single wheel.'
China's Social Credit System - A Facebook-1984 Mashup
'Prestige, face, mana, repute, glory: the Sirenese word is strakh.'
Musk Declares Tesla Supercharger Capacity Will Double By Next Year
'Recharge the batteries... in almost every town and village...'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories