According to a report by the Huffington Post, physicists believe they can create electrons and positrons from colliding photons. Researchers have now worked out how to create matter from pure light and are drawing up the plans to demonstrate this within the next 12 months.
“We have shown in principle how you can make matter from light,” said Steven Rose at Imperial, according to The Guardian. “If you do this experiment, you will be taking light and turning it into matter,” Rose said.
The director of the John Adams Institute at Oxford University, Andrei Seryi, said that “It’s breathtaking to think that things we thought are not connected, can in fact be converted to each other: matter and energy, particles and light. Would we be able in the future to convert energy into time and vice versa?” The original idea was written down by two US physicists, Gregory Breit and John Wheeler, in 1934.
According to Raw Story, the lead researcher on the study, Oliver Pike, said that the process was one of the most elegant demonstrations of Einstein’s famous relationship that shows matter and energy are interchangeable currencies. “The Breit-Wheeler process is the simplest way matter can be made from light and one of the purest demonstrations of E=mc2,” Oliver Pike said.
In the journal Nature Photonics, the scientists describe how they could turn light into matter through a number of separate steps. The first step fires electrons at a slab of gold to produce a beam of high-energy photons. Next, they fire a high-energy laser into a tiny gold capsule called a hohlraum, from the German for “empty room”. This produces light as bright as that emitted from stars. In the final stage, they send the first beam of photons into the hohlraum where the two streams of photons collide.
“We have shown in principle how you can make matter from light,” said Steven Rose at Imperial College, one of the authors of the study, according to PBS. “If you do this experiment, you will be taking light and turning it into matter.”
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