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Möbius Strips Made of Light Created

Category: Science & Technology
Posted: 08:54AM

At one point or another, you have probably made a Möbius strip, as it is a fairly common demonstration in schools. In Nature however, it is far less common, but now researchers from the University of Rochester, University of Ottawa, and some European researchers, have created it with light.

Being an electromagnetic wave, light waves oscillate in some direction, and that direction is their polarization. Normally one would expect light to be randomly polarized, or polarized in the same direction across a beam, but that is not the case here. The researchers produced a beam of what is called structured light. Unlike typical beams, structured light has had its polarization controlled to the point that it can oscillate in any direction, in all three dimensions. To make the beam of structured light, the researchers fired a laser through a special liquid crystal lens, producing a Möbius strip in the beam's polarization.

To prove they had created that shape, a particle was scanned through the beam, and the researchers measured how the light was scattered. This allowed them to measure the polarization of the beam across its cross-section, confirming the Möbius strip shape.

Source: University of Rochester

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