• Scientists create light in a vacuum

Microscopy & Microtechniques

Scientists create light in a vacuum

Nov 17 2011

Scientists have succeeded in creating light from a vacuum, proving that a vacuum is by no means empty nothingness.

A team from Chalmers University of Technology published the results following the success, an effect which was first predicted some 40 years ago when scientists noted that 'virtual particles' exist within a vacuum, so called because of their transitory lifespan.

Chalmers scientist Christopher Wilson and his team created the effect by getting photons to leave their virtual state and become real photons, generating measurable light.

"Relatively little energy is therefore required in order to excite them out of their virtual state. In principle, one could also create other particles from vacuum, such as electrons or protons, but that would require a lot more energy," added Goran Johansson, associate professor of Theoretical Physics.

The experiment is valuable because it is believed that vacuum fluctuations may have a connection with 'dark energy' which drives the accelerated expansion of the universe.

Posted by Neil Clark


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