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Saturday, January 21, 2017

Scientists can watch an 'optical boom' with photons moving through material

For the first time, scientists can use high-speed videos (we are talking over one trillion frames per second...crazy short time intervals!) of a pulsed laser beam moving through a gaseous material to see the optical equivalent of a sonic boom. A sonic boom happens when a sound producing object like a plane moves faster through air than sound waves - we get a cone shaped structure of sound. The video in the link has a clear image of the cone-shaped pattern of light as the laser pulse moves at different speeds in a material compared to a gas layer that is also in the system. This is really cool!

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