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Tying Knots With Light

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Old 09-14-2008
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Tying Knots With Light
thedreadedwiccan points out a summary of a recently released physics paper about tying knots with light. A pair of researchers showed that a relatively new solution to Maxwell's equations allows light to be twisted into stable loops. They are designing experiments to test the theory now, and it could have a big impact on fusion technology. The paper's abstract is available at Nature, through a subscription is required to see the rest. Quoting: "In special situations, however, the loops might be stable, such as if light travels through plasma instead of through free space. One of the problems that has plagued experimental nuclear fusion reactors is that the plasma at the heart of them moves faster and faster and tends to escape. That motion can be controlled with magnetic fields, but current methods to generate those fields still don't do the job. If Irvine and Bouwmeester's discovery could be used to generate fields that would send the plasma in closed, non-expanding loops and help contain it, 'that would be extremely spectacular,' Bouwmeester says."http://slashdot.org/slashdot-it.pl?f.../09/14/1324233
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