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Current Affairs

New kind of light that breaks limits of natural law

Date: 26 March 2020 Tags: Energy

Issue

A new study presents a material that emits light when heated that appears to exceed the limits set by that natural law. Researchers were wondering if there is a new light in the world that breaks hitherto known laws of nature.

 

Background

According to Planck’s Law, no material can emit more radiation than an idealised material ‘blackbody’ that absorbs energy perfectly.

 

Details

  • When heated, all materials emit light in a predictable spectrum of wavelengths. Increasing heat causes all materials to emit more intense radiation, with the peak of the emitted spectrum shifting to longer wavelengths as heat rises.

  • A new material defies the convention set by Planck’s law, emitting light that is coherent, similar to that produced by lasers or LEDs. The difference is that it doesn’t need the costly structure needed to produce the stimulated emission of those technologies.

  • The researchers demonstrated ‘Super-Planckian’ material, which showed a spike in radiation at about 1.7 microns, which is the near-infrared portion of the electromagnetic spectrum.

  • They  believe the light is coming from within the crystal, which has so many planes within the structure, so many surfaces acting as oscillators, so much excitation, that it behaves almost like an artificial laser material.

  • The new material could find applications in optical physics, energy harvesting, military infrared-based object tracking and identification.