Mass Transference: Can Light be Converted to Matter?

In summary, the Wang, Kuzmich and Dogariu experiment showed that if you shine light on something and then quickly point the light at something else, the light can travel faster than the speed of light. However, this has nothing to do with energy and everything to do with the physical objects in the experiment.
  • #1
oldunion
182
0
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2000/07/19/tech/main216905.shtml

This raised a few questions. If light has no mass, can i assume it is then energy and could thus be transferred back into mass?

And if energy can travel at 310 times the speed of light, why couldn't its equivalent in mass.
 
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  • #2
Yes, light energy can sometimes change into mass. For example, a photon may become a particle-antiparticle pair. However, the antiparticle willl usually soon annihilate with another particle, making that particle and the antiparticle disappear, and making another photon.
Or, a photon may strike some atom or molecule and bump it into a higher-energy state, which will increase the effective mass of that item. (or that's my vague understanding, anyway).

Now, as to the Wang, Kuzmich and Dogariu experiment, I remember much discussion about it at the time (five years ago), and seemto recall that while it's an interesting effect, it doesn't actually translate to energy traveling at greater than light speed.

I think it's kind of like this:
Imagine a huge stadium encompassing the whole solar system. Now, give everyone a timer, and ask them to stand up and sit down when the timer goes off. If you set up your timers properly, you could have a Mexican Wave that goes around the stadium at faster than light speed...
 
  • #3
PeteSF said:
Yes, light energy can sometimes change into mass. For example, a photon may become a particle-antiparticle pair. However, the antiparticle willl usually soon annihilate with another particle, making that particle and the antiparticle disappear, and making another photon.
Or, a photon may strike some atom or molecule and bump it into a higher-energy state, which will increase the effective mass of that item. (or that's my vague understanding, anyway).

Now, as to the Wang, Kuzmich and Dogariu experiment, I remember much discussion about it at the time (five years ago), and seemto recall that while it's an interesting effect, it doesn't actually translate to energy traveling at greater than light speed.

I think it's kind of like this:
Imagine a huge stadium encompassing the whole solar system. Now, give everyone a timer, and ask them to stand up and sit down when the timer goes off. If you set up your timers properly, you could have a Mexican Wave that goes around the stadium at faster than light speed...


surely you could do this, but i don't see the relation.
 
  • #4
oldunion said:
And if energy can travel at 310 t...magnetic energy travel AT the speed of light.
 
  • #5
oldunion said:
surely you could do this, but i don't see the relation.
He is demonstrating what is called superluminal motion. If you shine a flashlight at a distant star, and then quickly point it at another star, you can make the spotlight move faster than the speed of light. There isn't really any THING that exceeds c, so no violation.

But I don't know how superluminal motion relates to your question either.
 
  • #6
oldunion said:
surely you could do this, but i don't see the relation.
Well, that's pretty much what they did in the experiment. The energy was already in place, they just made each bit jump at the right time to look like a superluminal pulse. (Although "Just" might not be the right word!)
 
  • #7
Shadows and light spots can go faster than light but they can't carry physical information. This is confirmed by many experiments, including the spot of a laser which is pointed at the surface of the moon.

This can also be confirmed using logic. Distance and direction are abstract and therefore there is no real communication taking place between the physical objects.
 
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Related to Mass Transference: Can Light be Converted to Matter?

1. Can light be converted to matter?

Yes, according to Einstein's famous equation E=mc^2, energy (such as light) and matter are interchangeable. This means that under certain conditions, light can be converted into matter and vice versa.

2. How is light converted to matter?

In order to convert light into matter, a high amount of energy is required. This energy can be provided by high-energy collisions between particles, such as in particle accelerators. When these particles collide, they release a large amount of energy which can then be converted into matter.

3. What type of matter can be created from light?

The type of matter created from light depends on the energy of the light and the conditions in which it is converted. In experiments, scientists have been able to create particles such as electrons, positrons, and even heavier particles like protons and antiprotons.

4. Can mass transference occur naturally?

Yes, mass transference or the conversion of light into matter can occur naturally in extreme environments such as the center of stars or during cosmic ray collisions. However, these processes are not easily observed and studied, so scientists rely on artificial methods such as particle accelerators to study mass transference.

5. What are the potential applications of mass transference?

The ability to convert light into matter has many potential applications in fields such as energy production, medicine, and materials science. By studying mass transference, scientists can gain a better understanding of the fundamental laws of nature and potentially develop new technologies that utilize this process.

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