Raw chicken, ingenuity make a time-reversal mirror | Science News

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Raw chicken, ingenuity make a time-reversal mirror

No matter the angle light hits, it bounces back along the same path

By
1:30pm, September 18, 2015
mirror image of the number 5

GIVE ME FIVE  Light from an image of the numeral 5 (left) was scrambled (middle) after passing through a piece of raw chicken. Physicists reproduced the “5” (right) by bouncing laser light off a special mirror and sending it back through the chicken.

Light that strikes a new and improved mirror is always returned to sender.

South Korean physicists have created a composite mirror, made up of about a thousand tiny reflectors, that coaxes light waves to retrace, in reverse, the paths taken by the original waves that struck it. As a result, the researchers were able to reproduce an image at the same spot where it originated, even though the initial light waves had been severely scattered on their way to the mirror. This phase-conjugation mirror, reported in a paper to appear in Physical Review Letters, is not the first of its kind but requires less equipment and preparation time than its predecessors. “It’s very simple and elegant,” says Allard Mosk, a physicist at the University of Twente in Enschede, the Netherlands.

The researchers tested their device by projecting an image of the numeral 5 through

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