Researchers from MIT have created an optical “sonic boom” by slowing down light to a speed slower than flowing electrons.
When an airplane starts moving faster than the speed of sound, it creates a shockwave that produces a “boom” of sound (“sonic boom”). Now, researchers from MIT have discovered that something similar happens in a sheet of graphene. In a sheet of graphene, under certain circumstances, a flow of electric current can exceed the speed of slowed-down light and produce the same kind of optical “boom,” resulting in an intense, focused beam of light.
The team found that this new way of converting electricity into visible radiation is controllable, fast, and efficient, and could even result in a variety of new applications.