Light created from the void | Science News



Support nonprofit journalism

Subscribe now


Light created from the void

Reported demonstration of dynamical Casimir effect is significant milestone

3:59pm, June 3, 2011

Calling forth light from the void was once an act of biblical proportions. Now all it takes is a bit of smoke and mirrors provided by the laws of quantum mechanics.

By creating particles of light from seeming nothingness, an international team of researchers has confirmed an idea first proposed in 1970.

According to quantum physics, empty space isn’t actually empty. Even a vacuum contains energy, tiny fluctuations that can be thought of as virtual waves or virtual particles flitting in and out of existence.

These fluctuations exert a force. Put two mirrors clos

This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now. Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content