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Laser Light Re-creates 'Black Holes' in the Lab

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the i-have-dubbed-my-discovery-zonkinium dept.

Science 245

yodasz writes "The New Scientist reports that a team of researchers from the UK were able to recreate a black hole's event horizon in the lab by firing a laser pulse down an optical fibre. The team's observations confirm predictions made by cosmologists and now they are trying to prove Hawking's hypothesis of escaping particles, dubbed Hawking radiation. 'The first pulse distorts the optical properties of the fibre simply by traveling through it. This distortion forces the speedy probe wave to slow down dramatically when it catches up with the slower pulse and tries to move through it. In fact, the probe wave becomes trapped and can never overtake the pulse's leading edge, which effectively becomes a black hole event horizon, beyond which light cannot escape.'"

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Obligatory (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22422456)

So that's how CmdrTaco gets rid of all the first posts...

Please enough already... (4, Informative)

mahlerfan999 (1077021) | more than 6 years ago | (#22422894)

Please, New Scientist is not a credible source for news on physical science. I wish people would stop posting New Scientist articles. If you want to find out what's hot in physics the Physical Review Focus is a great accessible source of real science stories that are important, and unlike the PRL they are free to read. http://focus.aps.org/ [aps.org]

Re:Please enough already... (0, Flamebait)

hoppo (254995) | more than 6 years ago | (#22423582)

Good point. To further raise the BS meter, there are always three words that lead me to believe a story is more science fiction than science: "British researchers discovered."

In the past several years, we've seen the following breakthroughs from British scientists:

Claims of teleportation.
Claims of sending a photon of light backwards in time.
Cancer treatment breakthroughs.

All have turned out to be nonsense. "British researchers" immediately says to me "STOP READING NOW."

No offense to the British intended, of course.

Re:Please enough already... (1)

wattrlz (1162603) | more than 6 years ago | (#22423806)

Weren't, [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steorn]the perpetual motion guys[/url] mostly british too?

*yawn* (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22422468)

I don't buy it! Pics or GTFO!

Re:*yawn* (0, Offtopic)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22423494)

OK, these aren't the pictures you are looking for. Move along. Here [wanderingspace.net] is the black hole on Mars, here [newscientist.com] is the vortex on Saturn.

Both are as much "black hole" as the one they "reated in the lab". Meanwhile, the last one I met was named JoAnne.

Black Hole (5, Funny)

gammygator (820041) | more than 6 years ago | (#22422482)

As long as they didn't create a real black hole.

That would suck.

Re:Black Hole (5, Funny)

CSMatt (1175471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22422564)

Well it certainly wouldn't blow.

It would blow (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22422864)

It would blow Hawking Radiation

Re:It would blow (1)

viking099 (70446) | more than 6 years ago | (#22423306)

Man, some guys get all the lick^W luck

Re:It would blow (2, Interesting)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 6 years ago | (#22423678)

It would blow Hawking Radiation

Wow. That just blew my mind.

Re:It would blow (1)

45mm (970995) | more than 6 years ago | (#22423746)

According to Hawking anyway ... that's what they're trying to prove with this experiment.

Test Methodology (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22422598)

Step 1: Fire laser into one end of optical fiber
Step 2: Hold other end up to eye and from that day on, "see" *black holes* like, everywhere
Step 4: PROFIT from higher scientific research? You must be joking...

Re:Test Methodology (3, Funny)

spitefulcrow (713858) | more than 6 years ago | (#22422738)

Warning: do not look into laser with remaining good eye.

Re:Black Hole (0, Offtopic)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22422708)

So do the white ones. Oh you're talking about interstellar phenomena, never mind.

Re:Black Hole (1, Informative)

explosivejared (1186049) | more than 6 years ago | (#22422716)

Given that this experiment seems to back up hawking radiation, it's fairly reasonable to say that creating a black hole this small would not suck, but instead be pretty cool. Evaporation [wikipedia.org] would take care of the black hole before it became a problem. Remember, that these experiments are still low energy, and low mass (very much so) when compared to natural occurences of black holes.

Re:Black Hole (5, Informative)

spidercoz (947220) | more than 6 years ago | (#22422906)

ugh, dude, did you RTFA? this experiment had nothing to do with black holes, singularities, Hawking radiation, or any kind of mass. It was a trick of optics to produce an ANALOGUE of an event horizon

it is currently IMPOSSIBLE to produce any kind of singularity. The LHC has a chance, infinitesimal, to do so, but that's still quite a ways off.

Re:Black Hole (0, Troll)

explosivejared (1186049) | more than 6 years ago | (#22422924)

I did read the article, I was responding to the parent's idea about creating a black hole. Realize it was all tongue in cheek.

Re:Black Hole (4, Funny)

utnapistim (931738) | more than 6 years ago | (#22423576)

it is currently IMPOSSIBLE to produce any kind of singularity.
Ok wise guy, then explain Chuck Norris!

Re:Black Hole (2)

Brikus (670587) | more than 6 years ago | (#22423662)

Chuck Noris was not produced, he has always been.

Re:Black Hole (-1, Troll)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 6 years ago | (#22423850)

This is not /b/.
Do not try to make this /b/.

Chuck Norris is an over-the-hill martial artist, pathetic excuse for an actor, and is openly anti-science.

Re:Black Hole (1)

Sleepy (4551) | more than 6 years ago | (#22423708)

Ugh, dude... did you RTFC (read the comment) you replied to? Did you read what he was replying to?

Obviously not. Don't flame people for what you alone are guilty of... it makes people wince. :)

Funny? (1)

SeePage87 (923251) | more than 6 years ago | (#22423014)

Interesting, or insightful, maybe. But funny? You guys must have either very subtle or very bad senses of humor.

Re:Black Hole (1)

mtmra70 (964928) | more than 6 years ago | (#22423382)

You must have missed the epsiode of Atlantis where the blob of replicators was "suppose to take care of itself before it became a problem".

Re:Black Hole (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22423506)

I saw that episode the first time they did it in Stargate SG-1.

Re:Black Hole (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22423194)

A journey that begins where everything ends... cue the music http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0078869/ [imdb.com]

Re:Black Hole (1)

lanonyme (1239564) | more than 6 years ago | (#22423386)

Yes, like int the Dan simmons' book : Hyperion and its '08' error. A laboratory black hole story....

Am I slow? (1, Insightful)

TheGreatHegemon (956058) | more than 6 years ago | (#22422492)

I'm not a physicist by any means, but I thought Hawking radiation had something to do with the force of gravity at the event horizon. This seems to me is just a bending of light.

Re:Am I slow? (2, Informative)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22422576)

As far as I can tell, they're using this technique to develop a technique to measure hawking radiation--which, you're correct, involves gravitational forces et al.

However, up until now, we had no real way to measure it unless we happened to see a small black hole blow up, something that we haven't figured out how to find.

Re:Am I slow? (3, Informative)

xanthines-R-yummy (635710) | more than 6 years ago | (#22422590)

I was under the impression it was due to quantum particle pairs forming spontaneously. Under "normal" conditions we don't see these things because the pairs collide and sort of evaporate back to wherever the hell those things come from. However, in a black hole one of the particles escapes leaving the energy balance, well, in balance. The only reason that radiation escapes is that its partner went into the black hole absorbing some of its energy. Apparently, this phenomenon will cause all black holes to shrink to nothing over a long enough period of time.

I read about it in "The Physics of Star Trek", but Wikipedia has something on it too:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawking_radiation [wikipedia.org]

Re:Am I slow? (4, Funny)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22422790)

Wikipedia? What? You know that's not a reliable source of information. So I looked it up in the uncyclopedia [uncyclopedia.org] :

A Black hole is an impossible object which makes the Universe work. It has the useful property of being "undetectable". It's like when your spouse comes home with a dent in the car, and blames it on an invisible black mass; the dent is proof of the black mass, but you can't, and never will be able to see it with CCTV cameras, but you know it's there. "Dark matter" is an equally undetectable force that causes cars to defy gravity, and hit invisible black holes. Astronomers will tell you that lots of them have spouses with dents in their cars, and can explain this is very technical terms, so you won't be able to understand why it's not possible.

Re:Am I slow? (1)

spidercoz (947220) | more than 6 years ago | (#22422952)

you sir, are correct. well done. refreshing to see someone who pays attention and (holy shit!) looks up the occasional factoid

Re:Am I slow? (3, Funny)

orclevegam (940336) | more than 6 years ago | (#22422992)

you sir, are correct. well done. refreshing to see someone who pays attention and (holy shit!) looks up the occasional factoid
Looking up the occasional factoid? Hah, we don't need to do that, that's why we have the inter... uh... nevermind.

Re:Am I slow? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22422604)

Isn't gravity just the attraction between two masses? In that case the particles in light have mass so a gravitational interaction between them can be observed.

And if this is wrong, fuck it, I am not a physicists.

Re:Am I slow? (3, Interesting)

Ryvar (122400) | more than 6 years ago | (#22422718)

IANAP, but as I understand it, Hawking radiation is caused by virtual particles pairs being created such that rather than annihilating each other and returning local space to a base 'zero' state, one of the pair escapes the singularity's gravity and the other does not.

One fortunate consequence of this is that smaller black holes 'evaporate' more quickly, and the microscopic black holes we'll likely be generating at the Large Hadron Collider will cease to exist before they've even had sufficient time to absorb a neutrino.

Re:Am I slow? (2, Insightful)

orclevegam (940336) | more than 6 years ago | (#22422726)

Yeah, I'm no physicist either, but I don't quite follow this. They haven't simulated a black hole at all, just the optics of its event horizon.

Artificial event horizon != Artificial black hole.

Somehow I highly doubt that even if they can get the fiberoptics to 1000 degrees centigrade and perform this experiment that they'll get any hawking radiation out of it.

Re:Am I slow? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22422984)

Pardon my obvious bias, but you're absolutely dead on with your complaint - this is just one more example of condensed matter douchebags deluding themselves into thinking that they are doing something that has something to say about Real Physics as opposed to just solving another messy engineering problem. You see, the condensed matter folks know that their field has nothing to offer anyone in terms of actual understanding (that's not to say there aren't extremely useful applications, because there are), so they throw up crap like this all the time so they can point to it as an example of how they are doing all the things that the Real Physicists couldn't figure out how to do.

Re:Am I slow? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22422934)

Hawking radiation is the idea that everywhere around us, particle-antiparticle pairs are created and annihilated over and over, and we never notice because the result of the activity is zero, unless it just so happens that the particles somehow can't be combined back together again, say, one of them materializes inside the event horizon of a black hole while the other one doesn't.

I presume they're trying to see if such a pair can be created in this situation where one particle is stuck behind the wave while the other one isn't.

Re:Am I slow? (0)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 6 years ago | (#22422998)

Yo. My old buddy Einstein called. Turns out: Gravity? Acceleration? Almost the exact same thing, as far as the Physics is concerned. Kinda zany, huh?

Without looking at the objects around you, there's no way to tell the difference between 1 G sitting on Earth and 1G of force from being propelled by a rocket through space.

Re:Am I slow? (1)

orclevegam (940336) | more than 6 years ago | (#22423060)

Please look up cause and effect.

Sounds safe (4, Funny)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 6 years ago | (#22422548)

That sounds safe, to reproduce the effects of the point at which all matter collapses into a virtual singularity. Where were they testing this again? Somewhere on Earth? Alrighty then... Taxi!

Re:Sounds safe (1)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22422636)

It's not like they're making an actual singularity--they're just taking advantage of some properties of optical fibres to make something that kindasorta acts like an event horizon from one side.

Re:Sounds safe (5, Informative)

orclevegam (940336) | more than 6 years ago | (#22422642)

That sounds safe, to reproduce the effects of the point at which all matter collapses into a virtual singularity. Where were they testing this again? Somewhere on Earth? Alrighty then... Taxi!
They aren't simulating a black hole, the title is misleading. They're simulating the optical properties of a black holes event horizon. Subtle but very important difference.

Re:Sounds safe (3, Insightful)

chill (34294) | more than 6 years ago | (#22423546)

They aren't simulating a black hole, the title is misleading. They're simulating the optical properties of a black holes event horizon. Subtle but very important difference.

Yeah, your way of describing it doesn't generate NEAR as many hits on the ads...um, article.

Re:Sounds safe (1)

berwiki (989827) | more than 6 years ago | (#22423732)

but that would not be a true test then.

I can also 'simulate' a black hole's event horizon by putting a shining flashlight inside a sealed tin can.

You need extreme gravity to accurately replicate a black hole, not small pulses of radiation.

Re:Sounds safe (0, Offtopic)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22422932)

Well, they can blow up the earth if they want to but PLEASE DON'T LET THEM RECITE POETRY!

Re:Sounds safe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22423082)

not until i find my towel

Re:Sounds safe (1)

BlueParrot (965239) | more than 6 years ago | (#22423528)

The thing people don't realize with particle physics is that we are constantly bombarded by VASTLY higher energy particles than any of our accelerators can ever manage to produce. If there was even a minor possibility that particle collisions ( and yes, that includes bosons ) could destroy the planet then we would already be doomed from the vast quantity of cosmic rays that are hitting the earth's surface all the time. Basically whenever you hear about scientists trying to do some high energy particle physics collision, or similar high energy physics experiment, it is almost certain that the same type of reaction has occurred somewhere in the earth's atmosphere several times before. Since we are still here it is unlikely such research should be dangerous.

Let's hope (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22422578)

the rest of the world catches up to this level of physics. Studied this since the first edition of de Witte and MSW, and it remains hot. Burn, lasers, burn!

I don't get sending a "slow" and then "fast" wave (2)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 6 years ago | (#22422600)

I thought light travelled at C and that was that.

What gives?

Re:I don't get sending a "slow" and then "fast" wa (2, Informative)

spidercoz (947220) | more than 6 years ago | (#22423010)

Properties of the medium. C is only in a vacuum, light has variable speeds all the way down to stop depending on what it's traveling through.

Re:I don't get sending a "slow" and then "fast" wa (1)

cromar (1103585) | more than 6 years ago | (#22423018)

c (~3×10^8 m/s) is the maximum speed of light in a vacuum. See the wiki article [wikipedia.org] for good references about slowing light. And of course there's also relativity to consider, but that doesn't really have anything to do with this experiment (same frame of reference for observed and observer).

Re:I don't get sending a "slow" and then "fast" wa (1)

PieSquared (867490) | more than 6 years ago | (#22423038)

It travels at "c" in a vacuum. Through various materials it travels slower. That's why lenses work - light travels slower in glass then in air. There are several ways to slow light down, but no way to speed it up to above "c."

Re:I don't get sending a "slow" and then "fast" wa (2, Interesting)

Gat0r30y (957941) | more than 6 years ago | (#22423414)

Many optical fibers such as the one they are using have nonlinearities. Light of one frequency does not travel at the same speed as light of another frequency. They are exploiting this nonlinearity.

A black hole event horizon? (3, Insightful)

SecurityGuy (217807) | more than 6 years ago | (#22422602)

Not to be picky, but you do know there's a little bit more to the event horizon of a black hole than the fact that light can't get out of it? Let's not confuse interesting optical effects with singularities. They are...different.

Re:A black hole event horizon? (1)

TI-8477 (1105165) | more than 6 years ago | (#22422828)

Specifically, an event horizon is a point beyond which events cannot affect the rest of the universe. another example of which is the expanding edge of the universe. One of the properties of an event horizon is that light cannot escape. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Event_horizon [wikipedia.org]

Re:A black hole event horizon? (2, Funny)

spidercoz (947220) | more than 6 years ago | (#22423070)

I've heard it explained as a cosmological censor to block out the horrible violations of natural law that occur inside from the rest of the universe, always amused me

Re:A black hole event horizon? (1)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 6 years ago | (#22423618)

So, the "edge" of the universe is an event horizon and the "edge" of a black hole is an event horizon, therefore it isn't turtles all the way down, it's universes all the way down.....like matrioshka dolls (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matryoshka_doll [wikipedia.org] )

Layne

Re:A black hole event horizon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22422916)

indeed...

oblig futurama quote (2, Funny)

pak9rabid (1011935) | more than 6 years ago | (#22422628)

Bret: Pretty scrawny black hole. It must be hungry.
Cubert: Duh! Black holes don't need food.
Bret: Neither do nerds!

Cavitronics (0, Offtopic)

Wylfing (144940) | more than 6 years ago | (#22422646)

I still maintain that Earth by David Brin is one of the best science fiction novels I have ever read. The eradication of privacy, the pervasive recording of everything by retirees, etc. Now we're just one step closer. Just release a few lab-made black holes and let them carve neural pathways in the planet with their decaying orbits.

oblig (2, Funny)

ArieKremen (733795) | more than 6 years ago | (#22422650)

Move on, nothing to be seen here ...

Tag? (1)

BrotherBeal (1100283) | more than 6 years ago | (#22422652)

Where's the 'whatcouldpossiblygowrong' tag when you need it?

Re:Tag? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22423124)

DIAF

Background info needed.. (4, Funny)

lawaetf1 (613291) | more than 6 years ago | (#22422682)

could someone give me a little prep on this article.. A paragraph or two on how the universe works would be good. cheers. /obligatory

How the universe works (5, Funny)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#22423232)

God made the universe 6,000 years ago. If you do not worship him and subjugate yourself to his will, he will torture you forever. He just put in things like dinosaur bones and black holes to mess with your head, to get you to disbelieve in him, so that he can torture you forever without feeling guilty about it.

He's kinda messed up because he was alone for like, eternity, until he made up some friends in his head, but he's incapable of imagining anything that is actually his peer, so he secretly hates us all for not providing the companionship he needs. That is how the universe works.

Re:How the universe works (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22423344)

Talk about Modern Psychology meeting Religious Fundamentalism. I bet you could write a Doctoral Thesis on it.

Re:How the universe works (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 6 years ago | (#22423800)

Just want to let you know that I had to get a new keyboard from an unused workstation because the one I had was ruined when water came spraying out of my nose and mouth after reading that post.

Thanks for making my day.

Old SF (1)

OpenSourced (323149) | more than 6 years ago | (#22422692)

Does anybody remembers an old SF story in which a black hole is created and contained, and then somehow it _falls_ and start eating the Earth away? Cannot remember name or a author, but it gave me the creeps back then :o)

Re:Old SF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22423034)

Holy ubiquitous SF trope, Batman!

I think you mean "The Hole Man", Larry Niven, 1974 (except this took place on Mars)

Re:Old SF (2, Interesting)

RetiredMidn (441788) | more than 6 years ago | (#22423780)

Does anybody remembers an old SF story in which a black hole is created and contained, and then somehow it _falls_ and start eating the Earth away? Cannot remember name or a author, but it gave me the creeps back then :o)

I remember reading a short story, probably in the 60's, with a plot like this. The story starts with investigators trying to understand a rash of mysterious structural failures around the world, and tracing them to tiny vertical holes drilled through whatever failed; including buildings. It's ultimately traced to a scientist who had been attempting to create a black hole in a mountaintop laboratory. The black hole couldn't be contained or supported (because it sucked in the material), and was basically in an "orbit" that carried it down to the center of the earth, back out the other side until it reached the same distance on the other side, and so on, like a pendulum. The rotation of the earth cause it to cross the surface at various places. The hole was becoming more destructive as it consumed more material and became larger, and the earth was doomed unless a way could be found to get rid of it. I think the story ended without resolution (before the earth is destroyed).

I got the creeps, too. I hope someone finds the title and author.

Uh oh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22422710)

The team calculates that their laser black hole shares this property, and that it will "radiate" photons if it heats up to about 1000 degrees centigrade.

Wouldn't the fiber (or something) melt at that temprature?

Re:Uh oh. (0, Offtopic)

Bloodoflethe (1058166) | more than 6 years ago | (#22423050)

I wish I could give you a better response than this but: the important consideration is not whether it would melt or not, but that the shape and Index of Refraction between the fiber's core and cladding are maintained. (That's the easy answer.) Also, fiber is heated to about 1800 kelvins (1527 Celsius) for the purposes of manufacturing the fiber (really detailed but interesting process).

Pior Art (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22422728)

This has effect can be observed with cars and trains in tunnels without creating a "simulated black hole"
Why should light (a wave and a particle) behave any differently in a confined medium. *scratches head*

black hole analogy is a stretch (2, Informative)

xPsi (851544) | more than 6 years ago | (#22422742)

The experiment is cool, but as far as I can tell, this is nothing like a black hole in the cosmological sense. Simply reproducing one superficial property of black hole ("light cannot escape") does not make it a gravitational singularity with an event horizon and its associated properties. For example, I seriously doubt electron-positron conversions in their light cavity would behave at all like said conversions at a real event horizon since the charged particles would be subject to very different kinds of forces from those near a real black hole. Also, Hawking radiation is related to black hole evaporation. This would not occur with the lasers in an analogous way because the mechanics of this light bubble "evaporation" is totally different. It sounds to me like a case of one subfield (photonics) sexing up their lingo by adopting the lingo of another subfield (general relativity) to get press. IAAP, but not a cosmologists/GR expert, so I'm willing to stand corrected.

Re:black hole analogy is a stretch (1)

orclevegam (940336) | more than 6 years ago | (#22422816)

It sounds to me like a case of one subfield (photonics) sexing up their lingo by adopting the lingo of another subfield (general relativity) to get press. IAAP, but not a cosmologists/GR expert, so I'm willing to stand corrected.
IANAP, but even I came to the same conclusion. When your press release is having holes poked in it by laymen there's something a bit fishy going on.

Re:black hole analogy is a stretch (4, Informative)

Biff Stu (654099) | more than 6 years ago | (#22422966)

I am also perplexed. I to am not an expert on relativity & cosmology, but I know a thing or two about nonlinear optics. An intense light field can modify the index of refraction of the medium through which it's propagating. This is known as the AC or optical Kerr effect. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kerr_effect/ [wikipedia.org] The second light pulse will gradually encounter a higher index as it approaches the first pulse and therefore slow down. While I know nothing about Hawking radiation, it seems like gravity must be somehow involved, and this experiment is all about electromagnetic forces.

Re:black hole analogy is a stretch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22423098)

Did you read the article? (I'm new here...)

The authors don't claim to have created a cosmological black hole or gravitational singularity. They claim to have created an artifical event horizon. The two are not the same thing. If you buy into the "cosmological censorship" argument to fear naked singularities, you might accept that all singularities require an event horizon. But that doesn't mean that all event horizons require forming a singularity.

The value lies in the ability to study properties of the event horizon without the bother of having that pesky black hole lurking over your shoulder.

Re:black hole analogy is a stretch (1)

orclevegam (940336) | more than 6 years ago | (#22423222)

That would be all well and good, but then the article goes on to speculate about using this artificial event horizon to try to generate hawking radiation. It's that second point (as well as the terribly misleading title) that everyone is scratching their heads over.

Re:black hole analogy is a stretch (1)

xPsi (851544) | more than 6 years ago | (#22423752)

I did read the article but, as another user commented, their use of language is rather misleading. Contrast this with physicists at the LHC who will try to create and measure real black holes in the lab [arxiv.org] (although this is still an area of debate/discussion).


Another user in this thread has posted several interesting references which deserve some attention. It seems what they have created is a cavity made of light which is behaving analogously to a black _body_ (not hole) by effectively not permitting other light pulses to escape. Then this "cavity of light" is radiating with some effective temperature which has some superficial analogies with Hawking radiation. This is very interesting, especially since it is made of light, and there may be great utility, but as far as I can tell they are no more creating an "event horizon" than the interface of any other black body like the surface of pinhole on a closed box.

Re:black hole analogy is a stretch (1)

mattxb (1153409) | more than 6 years ago | (#22423282)

Hmm, here is some random page from Google on 'Optical Black Holes' http://www.phys.lsu.edu/mog/mog15/node10.html [lsu.edu] .

There is an early (2000) paper by Leonhardt (that I haven't read fully yet) talking about the theory behind this in Physical Review Letters Phys. Rev. Lett. 84 822 (2000) [aps.org] , along with some follow-up discussion explaining why this model might not be, strictly, a 'black-hole' Phys. Rev. Lett. 85 5252 (2000) [aps.org] (but one which describes how it may be adapted to become a model of a black hole).

That Visser critique has a couple of references to papers by W. G. Unruh, who tries to claim, as far as I can tell, that black-hole evaporation processes may be observable and modelled by a sonic black hole: Phys. Rev. Lett. 46 1351 (1981) [aps.org] , Phys. Rev. D 51 2827 (1995) [aps.org] .

This work is presumably making a transition from sonic black hole models, to optical black hole models.

Re:black hole analogy is a stretch (2, Informative)

mattxb (1153409) | more than 6 years ago | (#22423492)

As a follow up to my own comment, arXiv has what looks like the (a?) preprint for this current optical-fibre work arXiv:0711.4796v2 [gr-qc] [arxiv.org] ?

Oblig... (3, Funny)

Cervantes (612861) | more than 6 years ago | (#22422926)

"I call it a Hawking Hole".

hmmmm (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 6 years ago | (#22422946)

Isn't this simply a case of someone not understanding the real meaning of the words "is kind of like"?

 

Re:hmmmm (1)

mattxb (1153409) | more than 6 years ago | (#22423384)

Not if they're claiming "is kind of like" means "isomorphic" [wikipedia.org] .

IANAP but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22423176)

How does this apply to gravitational effects on light in any way? Gravity is preventing light from escaping not "slower" wavelengths of light blocking "faster" wavelengths of light from being able to escape. Not to mention that the difference in the speed of light of various wavelengths in the fiber doesn't directly relate to the speed of light in a vacuum (which doesn't change no matter the wavelength of light). The experiment does not match the model. I'm curious of the phases relative to the different pulses. Is interference between the two pulses causing the "clog in the tubes"? I think the experiments should be conducted using a variety of phase shifts between the two pulses as well as various polarities (polarizing filters, etc.) of the light pulses (unless I'm misunderstanding the inherent structure of a light pulse). This article seems to be lacking in more in depth descriptions of exactly what they did.

rindler horizon (4, Interesting)

Fanro (130986) | more than 6 years ago | (#22423230)

This reminds me of a rindler horizon [netspace.net.au]

A phenomen that has some similarities with a black hole, but without gravitational effects involved.

Re:rindler horizon (1)

orclevegam (940336) | more than 6 years ago | (#22423324)

This reminds me of a rindler horizon [netspace.net.au]

A phenomen that has some similarities with a black hole, but without gravitational effects involved.
Now THAT is some useful information. Should change the title of this article to 'Laser Light Re-Creates "Rindler Horizon" in the Lab'.

whatcouldpossiblygowrong (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 6 years ago | (#22423314)

To answer this, let us keep in mind what's going on. Some guy is sending laser pulses down a fiber optic cable. One possible outcome is the end of all life and existence as we know it. Or we could develope a photonic form of life that enslaves us all. Light pulses in a piece of glass could be inherently potentially crazily dangerous and it's good that some slashbot is minding the store and protecting us from maybe the end of everything. One might be insane to let anyone do such a thing, at least without considering the possibility of extraordinary cosmological danger.

Speaking of lasers... (0, Offtopic)

ulzeraj (1009869) | more than 6 years ago | (#22423398)

cant wait until they implement this on sharks

HEAT! (1)

arizwebfoot (1228544) | more than 6 years ago | (#22423460)

Someone may have already asked this, but what about the heat generated as the wave approaches C?

Re:HEAT! (2, Informative)

orclevegam (940336) | more than 6 years ago | (#22423508)

Someone may have already asked this, but what about the heat generated as the wave approaches C?
These waves wouldn't approach C. C is the speed of light in a vacuum, not in a fiber optic cable. In fact this experiment wouldn't work in a vacuum because it relies on the second wave traveling faster than the first wave.

Speed of Light (1)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | more than 6 years ago | (#22423550)

I'm confused at how there can even be two different speeds of laser light pulse. Isn't the speed of light a constant? I would love to know how they have different speeds of laser pulses in the first place to test this out.

Re:Speed of Light (1)

orclevegam (940336) | more than 6 years ago | (#22423838)

Only constant in a vacuum. Inside of a medium it varies by the wavelength of the light.

Professor Hawking (0, Redundant)

JStegmaier (1051176) | more than 6 years ago | (#22423596)

I will call it a Hawking Hole.

Interesting test conditions... (2, Insightful)

darkvizier (703808) | more than 6 years ago | (#22423666)

FTA:

It should also be possible to use the artificial event horizon to help test whether anything can escape from a black hole. In the 1970s, Stephen Hawking predicted that hot black holes could radiate particles, dubbed Hawking radiation, but it's tough to check this using telescopes, because they'd be swamped by noise. The team calculates that their laser black hole shares this property, and that it will "radiate" photons if it heats up to about 1000 degrees centigrade.

This makes me wonder how they're differentiating between light produced by their optics cable being on fire, and falloff from the laser. Or do optic cables not ignite at 1000 degrees centigrade? Regardless, it seems that there would be conflicting noise in a (presumably) non-vaccuum, lighted environment.

There trolls, corrected that for ya (1)

TBerben (1061176) | more than 6 years ago | (#22423706)

Black holes suxorz _0_ \''\ '=o=' .|!| .| |

Editors fix the title please (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#22423724)

Since it doesn't seem to reflect that facts of the situation.
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