Print 21 comment(s) - last by mmcdonalataocd.. on Aug 13 at 8:16 AM

Long-standing theory of physics verified.

Materials such as clouds, milk, candle wax, and even thick paint all have one thing in common; they consist of millions of tiny suspended particles which scatter light. A thick enough section of such a scattering material is opaque, with those suspended particles blocking the light entirely.

It's been a long-standing prediction of physics that visible light can actually pass through such "opaque" scattering mediums, using transparent channels known as eigenchannels. That theory has now been experimentally verified, thanks to a pair of researchers at the optical physics department of the University of Twente, Netherlands.

The two, Ivo Vellekoop and Allard Mosk, exploit the fact that such "disorded" mediums are fixed in time, and thus the seemingly random scattering process can be partially reversed. The process requires tuning relative phases of portions of a light beam so that they constructively interfere with each other.

Last year the same researchers demonstrated that this technique could be used to transmit a small portion of a beam through a scattering material, or optically focus it to a point within the material itself.

This year, with an improved test apparatus, Vellekoop and Mosk managed to pass as much as 44% more light through the material. They've also shown that a perfectly implemented version of their apparatus can transmit as much as two thirds of the incident light, no matter how thick the material is.

Such a technique could eventually be used to generate images of surfaces which have been painted, nondestructively test large vats of colloidal chemicals, or to allow navigational equipment to see though clouds or thick fog.

The results are being published in an upcoming issue of Physical Review Letters.

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By Gul Westfale on 8/11/2008 7:35:21 PM , Rating: 5
this could really improve safety for airplanes and ships, perhaps even cars... at least that is what i thought after i tore myself away from mental images of using special light goggles to see through women's clothing on the subway.

RE: nice
By riku0116 on 8/11/2008 8:58:41 PM , Rating: 4
I agree, very usable piece of tech right here.
Now if only they could perfect it before the Beijing Olympics is over. Then maybe the runners could actually see where they're supposed to turn through the smog...

RE: nice
By jajig on 8/11/2008 10:28:00 PM , Rating: 2
These are already available

RE: nice
By Fritzr on 8/12/2008 3:11:32 AM , Rating: 3
Different tech. The "X-Ray glasses" are using IR & UV just outside the visible light range. These freqs are visible to the light sensors used in digital cameras and if the visible light is filtered out, then the image as seen in the IR & UV bands is left. There is clothing and swimwear being marketed as opaque at these frequencies since digital photagraphy has already been exploiting the transparency of many fabrics at these frequencies. The "X-Ray glasses" are simply a Digital Video Camera disguised as a pair of glasses.

The materials that are mentioned in the article are opaque to most light frequencies including the IR & UV bands that digital sensors can see. The breakthrough is a way of focusing visible light in or through these normally opaque materials.

RE: nice
By SilthDraeth on 8/12/2008 9:41:52 AM , Rating: 3
Is that site from the 80s?

RE: nice
By cmontyburns on 8/12/2008 12:55:03 AM , Rating: 2
another reason to "fear the nerds".
i have heard something similar to this from my dad some years ago (he's on his sixties)about some scientist friend experimenting with light in his hometown in asia. i dismissed it as worse than the purest poppycock because of this very implication.
definitely not a discovery for any self-respecting female scientist.

say, could all this tinkering with light result into cool stuff like cloaking device.
its about time someone turns all these into a scientific reality- not just some fevered imagination taking a flight of fantasy.

RE: nice
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 8/13/2008 8:16:02 AM , Rating: 2
More significantly, this could make oceans transparent.

If it were used on mediums that are supposed to be transparent, but aren't completely, like fiber optic cables, it could increease the efficiency of those mediums as well.

Tactical and exploratory applications
By elgueroloco on 8/11/2008 11:37:06 PM , Rating: 2
This could be used tactially. Put a beam on one side of a house, and a tuned receptor on the other side of the house, and maybe you could see everything in the house, depending on how much it effects the light that passes through it.

This could also possibly be used to explore underground. If you could tune the light to pass through the ground, perhaps it would go through the crust of the earth until it hit some different material deeper down, revealing what exactly is below the ground.

Third, if you could tune it to pass through water, but reflect off of other things, it would do wonders for undersea exploration. You could possibly explore the ocean floor from the ocean surface.

By Silver2k7 on 8/12/2008 3:00:56 AM , Rating: 2
Depends if the house is made of plastic I would guess ^^

With wood you would probably just see the boards without the paint..

By elgueroloco on 8/12/2008 12:43:56 PM , Rating: 2
I also wonder if, using the knowledge gained in this process, you could do the reverse and tune materials for light to pass through them to make a cloaking device. Or perhaps make something that, as light hits it, it tunes the light to pass through.

By Darkefire on 8/12/2008 6:28:37 PM , Rating: 2
Who wants to look at the ocean floor? Take this tech to Loch Ness and we'll settle the issue once and for all.

amalgamated photons
By codeThug on 8/11/2008 8:06:37 PM , Rating: 3
or optically focus it to a point within the material itself.

Smells like military to me...

RE: amalgamated photons
By BruceLeet on 8/11/2008 9:33:22 PM , Rating: 2
Netherlands Military, then

RE: amalgamated photons
By The Irish Patient on 8/12/2008 10:24:37 AM , Rating: 2
Or maybe a big improvement in dermatological surgery, allowing the laser to focus its energy into deeper layers.

The Invisibles!
By chmilz on 8/11/2008 8:59:39 PM , Rating: 4
I guess this could apply to them fair skinned ginger kids too, huh?
Imagine, invisible freckled-ones lurking among us, slightly less noticed than now...

RE: The Invisibles!
By Gul Westfale on 8/11/2008 10:00:43 PM , Rating: 2
would it work on daywalkers, too?


By A5un on 8/12/2008 5:45:11 AM , Rating: 2
I thought that the guy was a genius for coming up with that red gem program. It's the same reason women buy jewelries. Those diamond necklaces ain't gonna do jack sh!t but hug around them necks and reflect some light. Hey, if someone was rich enough to spend a grand on a digital red gem, good for them.

As for Apple's decision to kill the program off...what a bunch of retards for letting it get into the store in the first place, heh? And I highly doubt that whatever agreement there is between the developers and Apple gives Apple the power to "kill."

RE: Hrm.
By A5un on 8/12/2008 5:46:41 AM , Rating: 2 did i end up in this thread...weird...

Reverse it to make a real hologram
By mkruer on 8/12/2008 12:52:40 AM , Rating: 3
If they can reverse the process, and using some light interference, they might be able to create a real hologram suspended in air, not those crappy would be ones

Not a panacea of vision
By tygrus on 8/11/2008 8:23:03 PM , Rating: 2
You would need a special light source aimed through the clouds to a single aircraft. You will also need to know something about what your aiming through before you can find a way to adjust the light to penetrate.

By SilthDraeth on 8/12/2008 9:24:20 AM , Rating: 2
Such a technique could eventually be used to generate images of surfaces which have been painted, nondestructively test large vats of colloidal chemicals, or to allow navigational equipment to see though clouds or thick fog.

I would think that in order to do this, you would need a super computer processing the information and tuning the light quicker than you are flying/driving.

The particles may be fixed in time but even if you have two bricks sitting side by side, each one will be slightly different and require the light to be tuned to it specifically.

"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson

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