Physicist scientist have been reported to have created “liquid light” at room temperature. This is the first time that such a feat has been achieved and this means that accessing this unique form of matter is now easier.
Liquid light is a superfluid, and is also a type of Bose-Einstein condensate. It has zero viscosity and friction and allows light to move and flow around corners and objects.
Normal light moves like a wave and can sometimes also behave like a particle. It always flows in a straight line. This is the reason why we people see around objects or corners. In some rare or extreme conditions, light can be made to act as a liquid and literally flow around objects and corners.
Bose-Einstein condensates have always intrigued physicists due to the fact that once in this state, there is shift from classical physics to quantum physics and matter behaves more like waves.
Bose-Einstein condensates are created at temperatures very close to absolute zero. When formed, they exist for a very short time, mere fractions of a second. In this experiment, researchers were able to create a Bose-Einstein condensate under room temperature with the aid of a Frankenstein like mash-up of matter and light.
Daniele Sanvitto, the lead researcher of CNR NANOTEC Institute of Nanotechnology, in Italy claims that with their success they have been able to prove that super-fluidity can also be made to exist under room temperature using polaritons, which are light-matter particles.
The feat was made possible using high technology equipment and nonoscale engineering to create polaritons. They placed organic molecules of 130-nanometre thickness between ultra-reflective mirrors. Then they blasted it a laser pulse of 35 femtosecond (a femtosecond is a quadrillionth part of one second). This helped them to fuse properties of photons like its light mass and quick velocity, with strong interactions of the electrons in the molecules.
The super liquid created had some unique properties. It did not create swirls or ripples when it flowed as normal liquid do. The result would open up new studies into quantum hydrodynamics.