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Claiming that something can move faster than light is a good conversation-stopper in physics. People edge away from you in cocktail parties; friends never return phone calls. You just don't mess with Albert Einstein. So when I saw a press conference at the American Astronomical Society meeting this past January on faster-than-light phenomena in the cosmos, my first reaction was to say, "Terribly sorry, but I really have to go now." Astrophysicists have been speaking of FTL motion for years, but it was always just a trick of the light that lent the impression of warp speed, a technicality of wave motion, or an exotic consequence of the expansion of the universe. These researchers were claiming a very different sort of trick. Dubious though I was, I put their press release in my "needs more thought" folder and today finally got around to taking a closer look. And what I've found is utterly fascinating.
Which is to say, it looks pretty weird. Not only is the radiation tightly focused in space, it is tightly focused in time--a pulse that originally takes, say, 10 seconds to generate might be squeezed into 1 millisecond as all the electromagnetic wavefronts get jammed together. The temporal focusing causes the radiation to spread out over a wide swath of the electromagnetic spectrum. In addition, the focusing provides a degree of amplification, causing the intensity of the radiation to diminish not with the inverse square of the distance but with the inverse distance.
In addition, the focusing provides a degree of amplification, causing the intensity of the radiation to diminish not with the inverse square of the distance but with the inverse distance.
Originally posted by Sinter Klaas
I just came across this article. the first thing what came up was : Mnemeth.
They have created an electric wave that was faster then light !
How cool is that ?
Originally posted by Sinter Klaas
reply to post by Arbitrageur
This time I can even say I understand.
With a little help from Phage of course.
Originally posted by Maddogkull
The thing I cannot understand about the electric universe is the amount of lack of scientists are engaged in it. Is it because they don’t want to drop their theories because they have been taught there whole life a certain style? It just seems weird how the plasma/electric models are not getting looked into more. It has to be more than just money and power.
Originally posted by Phage
reply to post by LightFantastic
A laser is not a "focused" source. It is a coherent beam of electromagnetic energy, a single wave (and it does obey the inverse square rule).
Collimation refers to the degree to which the beam remains parallel with distance. A perfectly collimated beam would have parallel sides and would never expand at all. Its divergence angle would be exactly 0. This is impossible except in some (bad) Sci-Fi movies where laser beams appear to go on forever with constant diameter. A laser beam will diverge and even obey the inverse square law when you get far enough away from the laser.
For a coherent monochromatic light source like a laser, divergence is affected mostly by the beam (exit or waist) diameter (wider is better) and wavelength (shorter is better). (A shorter laser generally produces a more divergent beam but this is mostly a result of the typically smaller beam diameter of such lasers, not their size.) This behavior is due to the diffraction limited behavior of wave propagation and cannot be overcome with optics. A very narrow low divergence beam is just not possible. Refer to the diagram: Divergence, Beam Waist, Rayleigh Length but keep in mind that the divergence in the diagram is greatly exaggerated and that the beam waist for most common lasers is actually located inside the resonator or at one of the mirrors.