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Scientists have just uncovered a new fundamental property of light called the "transverse spin" that sheds some light onto the 150 year-old theory of electromagnetism. This could lead to applications involving manipulating light at the nanoscale. This property of the wave plays the role of the electron spin in the quantum spin Hall effect which basically says that electrons possess a spin as if they are tops constantly rotating about their axis. In a homogeneous medium, this "transverse spin" is 0 but at the interface between 2 different media the character of the waves change dramatically and a transverse spin develops. This spin-orbit effect could be used in optical connections to rapidly reroute optical signals based on their spin.
Contributed by Sam Feldstone
Light reflects on the surface and inside of a water-filled sphere. Researchers at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) are studying interactions between light and matter to better understand the behaviors of photons, atoms and cells. Members of the OIST's Light-Matter Interactions Unit are investigating the interplay between light and optical nanofibers in order to develop highly sensitive biosensors. Text from and image from: www.livescience.com
Contributed by Laura Diana Escamilla
Light travels at 3x10^8 m/s. So it'd take longer for light to get here if it's father away. With that being said, if light was billions of meters away it'd take millions of years to get here. On top of that light changes colour according to distance. Red if it's really far away and blue if it's really close. So the next time you look at the night sky you can appreciate the fact that you are looking at galaxies from hundreds or millions of years ago.
Contributed by Justin Constantino