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Tapering Waveguide Captures a Rainbow

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the you-fight-with-light-surely-that-is-forbidden dept.

Science 72

SubComdTaco passes along news of researchers in the US who have trapped a rainbow in a tapering waveguide. The research is described (PDF) on the arXiv. "In 2007, Ortwin Hess of the University of Surrey in Guildford, UK, and colleagues proposed a technique to trap light inside a tapering waveguide [made of metamaterials]... The idea is that as the waveguide tapers, the components of the light are made to stop in turn at ever narrower points. That's because any given component of the light cannot pass through an opening that's smaller than its wavelength. This leads to a 'trapped rainbow.' ... Now Vera Smolyaninova of Towson University in Baltimore, Maryland, and colleagues have used a convex lens to create the tapered waveguide and trap a rainbow of light. They coated one side of a 4.5-mm-diameter lens with a gold film..., and laid the lens — gold-side down — on a flat glass slide which was also coated with film of gold. Viewed side-on, the space between the curved lens and the flat slide was a layer of air that narrowed to zero thickness where the lens touched the slide — essentially a tapered waveguide. When they shone a multi-wavelength laser beam at the... gilded waveguide, a trapped rainbow formed inside. This could be seen as a series of colored rings when the lens was viewed from above with a microscope: the visible light leaked through the thin gold film."

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Leprechaun (4, Funny)

daveime (1253762) | more than 4 years ago | (#30256310)

So the bloody leprechaun lied to us !

You need to have two very thin pots of gold first, so you can find the end of the rainbow.

Leprechaunic (4, Funny)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 4 years ago | (#30256366)

>>You need to have two very thin pots of gold first, so you can find the end of the rainbow.

I wonder if you kidnap the scientists they'll grant you three wishes?

Tag: Leprechaun

Re:Leprechaunic (4, Funny)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#30256512)

I wonder if you kidnap the scientists they'll grant you three wishes?

Yes, unless one of the wishes is to know how your cat is doing.

Re:Leprechaunic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30258982)

Oh, I already know my cats fine. I put it in this box for safe keeping. Want to have a peak?

Re:Leprechaunic (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#30259930)

I wonder if you kidnap the scientists they'll grant you three wishes?

Yes, unless one of the wishes is to know how your cat is doing.

No, you can wish for that, it's just that your wish may or may not actually get used up.

Re:Leprechaunic (1)

DeadDecoy (877617) | more than 4 years ago | (#30257028)

They would, but they ran out of funding and cutback to one wish, so long as that wish is a ham sandwich.

Re:Leprechaunic (1)

BluBrick (1924) | more than 4 years ago | (#30257212)

"A ham sandwich? That sounds harmless." - Mama Cass.

Re:Leprechaunic (1)

timesucker (141604) | more than 4 years ago | (#30258576)

Re:Leprechaunic (1)

BluBrick (1924) | more than 4 years ago | (#30259892)

Urban Myth? I'm devastated. Little hint though - The joke is in the well-known myth of her death, not in the lesser-known truth of it.

Re:Leprechaun (1)

failedlogic (627314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30256504)

We all assuming its pots of real gold at the end of the rainbow. Leprechauns lied once, they'll lie twice. I saw its pots of fools gold.

I think the US Gold Reserve isn't in Fort Knox. Its at the other side of the rainbow too. ;)

Russian "Leprechauns" in Science and Mathematics (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30256590)

The Russians have made many contribtions to science and mathematics. Consider Alexei A. Abrikosov, Vitaly L. Ginzburg, and Zhores I. Alfero. The first 2 scientists won the Nobel Prize in physics in 2003. The 3rd scientist won it in 2000.

Grigory Perelman won the Fields Medal in 2006. (In 2002, he proved the Poincare Conjecture.)

Now, Vera Smolyaninova had made a major advance in optical physics.

Why have the Russians accomplished so much in science and mathematics?

On the other hand, why have the Africans (and African-Americans) accomplished almost nothing in science and mathematics? Africans seem to lack the ability to process advanced mathematics, which is a characteristic of all Russian accomplishments in physics.

Does the fact that African IQ is about 20 points less than Russian IQ (and Japanese IQ) explain African failure in science and mathematics and also African failure in creating a modern, first-world society?

Re:Russian "Leprechauns" in Science and Mathematic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30257192)

but africans blow the crap out of russians (and japanese)in sports and performance though.
have you thought for a second different genes lead to different strengths.

oh your one of those people that think IQ is everything and strength or stamina are not neccessary

Re:Russian "Leprechauns" in Science and Mathematic (1)

Nathrael (1251426) | more than 4 years ago | (#30260534)

oh your one of those people that think IQ is everything and strength or stamina are not neccessary

Playing devil's advocate here (the poster you're responding to is a lame troll posting the same crap over and over again, and you're also pretty wrong to say that genetically Africans tend to be great athletes and Westerners are better scientists) - stamina and strength can both be acquired through training, intelligence only in a very limited fashion. So yeah, intelligence is more precious than physical strength.

Re:Russian "Leprechauns" in Science and Mathematic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30257216)

Does the fact that you are a retard make you feel happy?

Re:Leprechaun (1)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 4 years ago | (#30256884)

It is now apparent that the gold is in a bucket, not a rounded pot.

Re:Leprechaun,Christmas sale, free shipping discou (0, Troll)

coolforsale1321 (1688900) | more than 4 years ago | (#30257746)

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Re:Leprechaun,Christmas sale, free shipping discou (1)

daveime (1253762) | more than 4 years ago | (#30259284)

No, my comment has been "cool-for-saled" ... it's the Rickrolling of 2009. coolforsale.com Chinese spam scam sweatshop illegal copies half your money back do not buy

Not exactly a pot... (1)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 4 years ago | (#30256312)

But the ends still technically had gold beneath them.

skittles (3, Funny)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 4 years ago | (#30256322)

did they try tasting it?

Re:skittles (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#30256442)

Tastes like shiny.

Re:skittles (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30259804)

    You obviously haven't eaten enough acid. Eat these two sugar cubes, and tell me what the rainbow tastes like in about 30 minutes.

    -Dr JWSmythe

    (if only all prescriptions were this easy, or entertaining.)

Great!.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30256346)

now we just have to prove that unicorns exists and put them behind bars.

Suddenly tripping of unicorns and rainbow is not that cool anymore. It is, right?

Re:Great!.. (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#30256530)

now we just have to prove that unicorns exists and put them behind bars.

Just don't stand too close to the cell.
     

What they're really researching (5, Funny)

Broofa (541944) | more than 4 years ago | (#30256352)

Dr. Hess was later quoted as saying, "While we're obviously pleased with our success so far, we won't be satisfied until we've trapped not only the rainbow, but the leprechaun and pot of gold as well. Until then, we remain disturbingly dependent on grant money for our research."

Amazing work, but brings to mind a quote (5, Interesting)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 4 years ago | (#30256378)

"If humans could put Rainbows in a Zoo, they would."
--Bill Watterson, via Hobbes in Calvin and Hobbes.

Re:Amazing work, but brings to mind a quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30258946)

Lisa Frank has already been there and done that.

Traped light? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30256412)

Quantum computers with Optronic pathways are now possible, I wonder how much longer it will be before Asimov's fiction becomes reality...
When the day comes (and it's not to far away) that we can no longer claim to be the most intelligent thing we are aware of will we chose to be slave, master or form a symbiosis?
Just because we create something does not mean that we can claim ownership of it, I wonder if that's why no one has ever seen god?

Re:Traped light? (1)

daveime (1253762) | more than 4 years ago | (#30256638)

Just because we create something does not mean that we can claim ownership of it, I wonder if that's why no one has ever seen god?

I think the RIAA might disagree with you on the first point.

And no one has seen God because he's been involved in a long legal battle with Michael Jackson over buying back the rights to "The Universe" back catalogue.

Re:Traped light? (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 4 years ago | (#30256752)

Quantum computers with Optronic pathways are now possible, I wonder how much longer it will be before Asimov's fiction becomes reality... When the day comes (and it's not to far away) that we can no longer claim to be the most intelligent thing we are aware of will we chose to be slave, master or form a symbiosis?

Your musings sound not so much like Asimov's fiction, but futurist Ray Kurzweil's predictions in books like The Singularity is Near [amazon.com] . One of Kurzweil's observations is that as soon as we can create a machine equivalent to a human brain, we can create a machine more powerful than a human brain.

Re:Traped light? (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30259832)

    Ummm, if we could produce a computer (and program it) to be equivalent to the human brain, wouldn't *IT* be making the next one? Come on, it wouldn't need sleep. It wouldn't take weekends off. It wouldn't take smoke breaks. It wouldn't go on shooting rampages when it was overstressed and underpaid (I hope). It wouldn't only work 8 to 14 hour days. It wouldn't have to stop working to take a leak. It wouldn't be having dirty dreams about that hot 18 year old intern named Natasha (MMmm, Natasha). It wouldn't have it's wife nagging that he spends long hours at work to spend time with the hot 18 year old intern. He wouldn't have to come up with convincing lies to explain the difference between his 8 hour work day and the 14 hours a day that he's "at work". You get the idea. :)

    They never did mention that Skynet was powered by a captured rainbow. Heck, I don't think I've ever heard of any scifi like that. Captured singularities; gravity wells; portals to evil domains, sure, but never a captured rainbow.

   

Re:Traped light? (1)

Nathrael (1251426) | more than 4 years ago | (#30260562)

One of Kurzweil's observations is that as soon as we can create a machine equivalent to a human brain, we can create a machine more powerful than a human brain.

Which would also mean that we wouldn't be that far away from creating a machine capable of enhancing the human brain.

What happens when the laser is turned off? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30256438)

Sorry, perhaps I am being too dense (ha ha) but if the rainbow disappears when the laser is turned off, they created a rainbow, not trapped it. I see one every time it rains on a oil-slick at a gas station.

Re:What happens when the laser is turned off? (4, Informative)

jandrese (485) | more than 4 years ago | (#30256464)

Obviously if you can see it the rainbow isn't completely contained. You can't capture a rainbow in the manner that you're thinking of because it would require a perfect vacuum (which we can mostly achieve these days), and a perfectly reflective surface (which we cannot). Every time the light bounces off of whatever you have contained it in, it will lose a bit of energy. Since it's traveling at the speed of light, you'll have enormous numbers of bounces per second and they'll quickly sap all of the energy away from the beam.

Re:What happens when the laser is turned off? (0)

daveime (1253762) | more than 4 years ago | (#30256672)

Every time the light bounces off of whatever you have contained it in, it will lose a bit of energy. Since it's traveling at the speed of light, you'll have enormous numbers of bounces per second and they'll quickly sap all of the energy away from the beam

Interesting theory, but where does this energy go ? Is it converted to sound, heat, mass, or some other form ? It doesn't simply disappear, unless Albert Einstein was drunk when he postulated the theory of relativity !

And if we could completely "sap all the energy" away from the beam, wouldn't this imply we could create 100% effecient solar cells ?

Re:What happens when the laser is turned off? (5, Interesting)

amorsen (7485) | more than 4 years ago | (#30256820)

Interesting theory, but where does this energy go ? Is it converted to sound, heat, mass, or some other form ?

Heat.

And if we could completely "sap all the energy" away from the beam, wouldn't this imply we could create 100% effecient solar cells ?

As long as you're happy with heat as output, 100% efficient solar cells are quite trivial.

Re:What happens when the laser is turned off? (1)

daveime (1253762) | more than 4 years ago | (#30259314)

As long as you're happy with heat as output

So how about we create a tiny stirling engine and put it at the end of two gold plated cone shapes, one inside the other with a tiny tapering distance between them, and for good measure, enclosed in a vacuum ?

Wouldn't this allow the incoming light source to be trapped on 3 dimensions and focused down to a concentrated point ? Sure we couldn't see the rainbow any more, but the "light leakage" concerns would seem to be covered, and by the comments above, the only place the light could "go to" would be 100% into the heat collector end of the sitrling engine.

Multiply this up by thousands in an array, and you might have the next "solar collector" design.

Re:What happens when the laser is turned off? (1)

jack2000 (1178961) | more than 4 years ago | (#30261112)

You're over engineering this. We can already use pretty good mirrors to focus light onto a tower and heat salt then proceed to make steam and use general turbines. Just look at PS10 and PS20 [wikipedia.org]

Re:What happens when the laser is turned off? (3, Informative)

dexmachina (1341273) | more than 4 years ago | (#30256870)

As far as the reflection losses go, it's not converted to anything, it's transmitted. That's what the GP meant by "if you can see it the rainbow isn't completely contained". There's no such thing as a perfect reflector, some of the light is always transmitted through. And since we can't attain perfect vacuum, there will also be internal collisions with gaseous molecules, which can either transmit the absorbed energy via heat in colliding with other molecules, or re-transmit it as light, though possibly in a series of longer wavelengths.

As for the solar cells thing... no. That's a completely different situation. The trapped rainbow is a nearly closed system, with no continuous energy input, and the problem is that we can't make it completely closed (and if we could, it's internal entropy would then increase over time so it still couldn't be perfectly stable). Technically, I suppose all the energy can't be sapped since it's exponential decay, but the system energy asymptotically approaches 0 (and once a small enough amount remains, the fact the energy is discrete becomes important). It's about inefficient energy conversion. Far form implying that we could create 100% efficient solar cells, this is why we can't create 100% efficient solar cells.

Re:What happens when the laser is turned off? (1)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 4 years ago | (#30257126)

it is all lost to heat.

wouldn't this imply we could create 100% effecient solar cells ?

No, just very very black objects that get hot in the sun. If you could make them NOT get hot, get heavier, or vibrate then YES, you would be rich.

Re:What happens when the laser is turned off? (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30259850)

    That was my thought on it. They aren't "capturing" it. They're looking at refracted light. It's a very fancy prism. They spent a lot of money on water drops. Otherwise, they should be able to quantify the photon dust on the bottom of their apparatus. :) ... and I was just making a joke about the photon dust, but I googled it, and it's theorized to exist. Well, kinda. :)

    I guess there's gotta be something at the bottom of a black hole from all that light that can't escape, right? :)

Also neat because? (1)

Ambiguous Coward (205751) | more than 4 years ago | (#30256494)

Okay, aside from the obvious "nifty" factor, can someone explain in dummy-terms what other cool stuff this might lead to? I realize that research isn't necessarily about making immediately useful things, but surely someone knows of some fantastic avenues this might lead towards?

Not trying to downplay any significance here, just looking for some insight from someone more familiar with what's going on. :)

Re:Also neat because? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30256508)

Rainbow coloured porn that's trapped in meta-materials, of course.

Re:Also neat because? (1)

troll8901 (1397145) | more than 4 years ago | (#30260062)

That's a porn channel in Taiwan named "Rainbow Channel".

Re:Also neat because? (0, Offtopic)

Ambiguous Coward (205751) | more than 4 years ago | (#30256510)

Nevermind, I just managed to RTFA. :D

Re:Also neat because? (2, Informative)

Ambiguous Coward (205751) | more than 4 years ago | (#30256514)

(Optical computing was the answer.)

Re:Also neat because? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30256526)

Okay, aside from the obvious "nifty" factor, can someone explain in dummy-terms what other cool stuff this might lead to? I realize that research isn't necessarily about making immediately useful things, but surely someone knows of some fantastic avenues this might lead towards?

Not trying to downplay any significance here, just looking for some insight from someone more familiar with what's going on. :)

It's neat because it proves that man is the most powerful being in the world, capable of trapping even light.

Where's your god now?

Re:Also neat because? (2, Funny)

daveime (1253762) | more than 4 years ago | (#30256688)

Black holes have been trapping light since the Big Bang (or "shortly afterwards" anyway, in cosmic terms).

I think God has prior art on that one. Once man can also trap gravity, strong and weak electromagnetic forces and time, I'll concede to your assertion.

Re:Also neat because? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30257080)

Man has been trapping time every since Bejeweled was invented.

Re:Also neat because? (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#30264898)

I think God has prior art on that one. Once man can also trap gravity, strong and weak electromagnetic forces and time, I'll concede to your assertion.

If that was in list of increasing difficulty, already done as I know several school teachers who could turn an hour into eternity.

Re:Also neat because? (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30259874)

    Two very important quotes to remember....

    "God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him." -Nietzsche

    "Nietzsche is dead." -God

    One is pretty easy to verify. There's a gravestone in Germany [findagrave.com] with his body under it. Well, I assume it's still there. in 1998, they were talking about digging up the area to strip mine for coal. Hmmm.

    As for God, I haven't seen his gravestone quite yet. Then again, no one has ever seen his body, so that makes it pretty tough to confirm that he is dead, or even existed. :)

    (and, yes, I understand the real meaning of the Nietzsche quote, it's called humor.)

Re:Also neat because? (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30259876)

Damned proof reading. That was the 1980's and 2008, not 1998.

I like soap bubbles better... (4, Interesting)

Baldrson (78598) | more than 4 years ago | (#30256516)

Soap bubbles are better because I can make them myself, they float around in the air and they look like little gas planets with swirling atmospheres.

Russian Accomplishments in Science and Mathematics (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30256538)

The Russians have made many contribtions to science and mathematics. Consider Alexei A. Abrikosov, Vitaly L. Ginzburg, and Zhores I. Alfero. The first 2 scientists won the Nobel Prize in physics in 2003. The 3rd scientist won it in 2000.

Grigory Perelman won the Fields Medal in 2006. (In 2002, he proved the Poincare Conjecture.)

Now, Vera Smolyaninova had made a major advance in optical science.

Why have the Russians accomplished so much in science and mathematics?

On the other hand, why have the Africans (and African-Americans) accomplished almost nothing in science and mathematics? Africans seem to lack the ability to process advanced mathematics, which is a characteristic of all Russian accomplishments in physics.

Does the fact that African IQ is about 20 points less than Russian IQ (and Japanese IQ) explain African failure in science and mathematics and also African failure in creating a modern, first-world society?

Re:Russian Accomplishments in Science and Mathemat (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30256722)

No, but the fact they have bigger dicks, and that makes you feel *so* inferior is compensation enough.

Like an interference pattern? (4, Interesting)

PPH (736903) | more than 4 years ago | (#30256542)

Sounds like an old high school science experiment. Take two microscope slides (flat pieces of glass) lay one on top of another with a thin shim separating them at one end, illuminate this with a monochromatic light and see the fringes. With white light, the peaks for each wavelength would occur at different locations, resulting in a 'rainbow'. Same thing works with soap films, using internal reflection, as the film flows downwards due to gravity and becomes thicker at the bottom (wedge-shaped).

This is also a neat trick for measuring the thickness (or diameter) of a small object. Using it as the shim, count the fringes per centimeter, do some math and you know how thick it is.

Newton's Rings (4, Informative)

Guppy (12314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30256734)

Sounds like an old high school science experiment. Take two microscope slides (flat pieces of glass) lay one on top of another with a thin shim separating them at one end, illuminate this with a monochromatic light and see the fringes. With white light, the peaks for each wavelength would occur at different locations, resulting in a 'rainbow'.

What you're referring to is known as "Newton's Rings":
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newton's_rings [wikipedia.org]

Re:Newton's Rings (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | more than 4 years ago | (#30262592)

What you're referring to is known as "Newton's Rings"

Exactly what I was thinking too.

Nothing new here, move along... (2, Informative)

ctrl-alt-canc (977108) | more than 4 years ago | (#30256598)

Selective absorption is a well known effect that takes place whenever a wave propagates in a medium where two boundary conditions have to be fulfilled at once. We observe it regularly in our lab while sending acoustic/elastic waves into a pack of slabs of material. The same thing happens with electromagnetic waves, just like Isaac Newton observed a few centuries ago [harvard.edu] . Sending the light in a direction parallel to the lenght rather than perpendicular does not discover anything new. Next post, please...

Re:Nothing new here, move along... (1)

Interoperable (1651953) | more than 4 years ago | (#30256856)

I don't know much about selective absorption in acoustic waves but this process relies on a waveguide. While waveguides occur in acoustics, I don't think you can get as much energy into the evanescent wave, which is critical to the large group velocity reduction. But, acoustics isn't my field so perhaps you could correct me if I'm wrong.

Re:Nothing new here, move along... (1)

ctrl-alt-canc (977108) | more than 4 years ago | (#30262980)

Elastic wave equations can be transformed into Maxwell's electromagnetic field equations and viceversa, see for example W. Chew's textbook [amazon.com] for a demonstration. Funny, isn't it ?!?

Re:Nothing new here, move along... (1)

Interoperable (1651953) | more than 4 years ago | (#30277000)

Well, I suppose wave equations are wave equations ;) but I'm still always a bit amazed at how general the mathematical descriptions of physical systems are.

Re:Nothing new here, move along... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30256860)

Si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses

You better have a look at the paper.

Re:Nothing new here, move along... (1)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 4 years ago | (#30259478)

I did read the article (which is one page, and contains nothing complicated). It's *exactly* a Newton's rings experiment, and has practically nothing to do with metamaterials, nor with an "adiabatically-tapered waveguide", as the article claims. Looks to me as though New Scientist did some _very_ sloppy reporting, and /. got snookered into picking it up as real research.

Trapped light you say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30256750)

By crossing this technology with a ballistic projectile... Ohohoh oh Photon Torpedo! Where did I put that patent form...

If the light is trapped, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30256770)

how come we can see it?

I'm interested to see what journal that gets in (3, Insightful)

Interoperable (1651953) | more than 4 years ago | (#30256830)

It was a very simple experiment to perform. It doesn't make any measurement of the group velocity or demonstration of trapped light (which would typically involve releasing it controllably and detecting it). The original proposal involved meta-materials to achieve a region with a negative index of refraction to use as the waveguide. They could then (hopefully) manipulate the meta-material to controllably store and retrieve light.

It seems this experiment used a simple meta-material the consisted of the glass surfaces, the 30-nm gold coating and the air gap in a Newton's rings setup. They may even have had the gold coated lens lying around and did the experiment over lunch (which just involved taking a picture). I don't think it's all that interesting until they get storage and retrieval.

What about the gold? (1)

aldld (1663705) | more than 4 years ago | (#30256882)

I'd say this is useless unles they've also trapped the gold.

TU is not in Baltimore, MD (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 4 years ago | (#30257656)

It's in, well, Towson, which is in Baltimore County, MD.

Old news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30257702)

The scientists at Mars Inc have been doing this for years. Further they've even perfected the process of capturing the flavor; in other word, one is able to taste the rainbow. Believe it or not, you can actually find this remarkable technology at your local store.

RE: Newtons Rings type experiment. (2, Insightful)

numb7rs (1689018) | more than 4 years ago | (#30259624)

While similar in effect to an interference patter type experiment, the actual physics behind the experiment in the article is subtly different. A 'Newtons Rings' type pattern emerges when the distance between the two (partially) reflective surfaces are a certain distance apart, coinciding with an integer value of wavelengths of the light involved. This can can, in theory, be any distance, as long as exact number of wavelengths fit inside. For example, standard interferometers can have distances as large as a centimetre, which is huge compared to the wavelength of visible light.

The effect described is based on the distance between two very reflective surfaces being smaller than the wavelength of light involved, thus preventing the light from travelling further down the waveguide. The taper on the waveguide means that as you go to shorter wavelengths of light, it can travel further, thus generating a 'trapped rainbow' of visible light inside the waveguide.

A key difference to note is that the fringe pattern generated by an interferometer type setup repeats itself as you increase/decrease the distance between the two reflective surfaces, so generating a series of lines or concentric circles. The setup with the 'trapped rainbow' will create a single rainbow pattern.

It started out fine (1)

pugugly (152978) | more than 4 years ago | (#30269054)

And then, the rainbows turned on us, the seven frequencies combining their harmonics into a single meta-Frequency

A frequency . . . of DEATH!!!!!

RUN - SAVE YOURSELVES!!!!

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