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Molecules/Matter & Energy

Metamaterial warp drives, secrets of coffee rings and more in this week's news

8:57am, August 21, 2011

Toy warp drive proposed
A physicist who previously created a toy universe out of metamaterials that bend light in unusual ways has now dreamed up a way to use those materials to build a warp drive. Simulations by Igor Smolyaninov at the University of Maryland in College Park show that moving faster than light is still impossible in toy universes, just as it is in the real one. But the right material should allow superspeed travel at up to one-quarter light speed — by riding in a moving spacetime bubble, he reports in an upcoming issue of Physical Review B. —Devin Powell.

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