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Originally posted by Silent Professional
There was an experience conducted where information was transmitted via a solid (a brick) at the speed of 1.4 times the speed of light. The information was transmitted via a compression wave (sic) through the solid.
Quantum Tunnelling is the quantum mechanical effect which permits a particle to escape through a barrier when it does not have enough energy to do so classically. You can do a calculation of the time it takes a particle to tunnel through. The answer you get can come out less than the time it takes light to cover the distance at speed c. Does this provide a means of FTL communication?
ref:T. E. Hartman, J. Appl. Phys. 33, 3427 (1962).
They claim to have transmitted Mozart's 40th Symphony through a barrier 11.4cm wide at a speed of 4.7c. Their interpretation is, of course, very controversial. Most physicists say this is a quantum effect where no information can actually be passed at FTL speeds because of the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. If the effect is real it is difficult to see why it should not be possible to transmit signals into the past by placing the apparatus in a fast moving frame of reference.
Terence Tao has pointed out that apparent FTL transmission of an audio signal over such a short distance is not very impressive. The signal takes less than 0.4ns to travel the 11.4cm at light speed, but it is quite easy to anticipate an audio signal ahead of time by up to 1000ns simply by extrapolating the signal waveform. Although this is not what is being done in the above experiments it does illustrate that they will have to use a much higher frequency random signal or transmit over much larger distances if they are to convincingly demonstrate FTL information transfer.
The likely conclusion is that there is no real FTL communication taking place and that the effect is another manifestation of the Heisenberg uncertainty principle.