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Sonic boom

  1. Aug 6, 2016 #1
    As speed of the sounding source approaches speed of sound, sonic boom is heard...

    Can it happen in terms of light too.. ?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 6, 2016 #2


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    Yes. Cherenkov radiation is what you are looking for.
    In short, when an electrically charged particle moves faster than the "speed of light in a medium", it emits photons, the so called cherenkov radiation.
  4. Aug 6, 2016 #3

    Cherenkov_radiation its a new term for me had never heard about it before :oops: lemme read it first o_O Thank you
  5. Aug 6, 2016 #4


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    No problem :smile:
  6. Aug 6, 2016 #5
    Objects can surf sound waves. Chuck Yeager reported the feeling of his jet surfing the sound wave. Can anything surf a light wave either in a medium or a vacuum? I'm assuming no for the vacuum.
  7. Aug 6, 2016 #6


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    This can certainly be achieved using microwaves, rather than light. Particles cannot travel at c so it is always necessary that the EM wave is deliberately slowed down for this to work. You can use a 'slow wave structure', for instance a helical transmission line, to accelerate charged particles. A wave that's launched along the helix will have a series of maxes and mins of E field that sweep along the helix. Electrons can be caught by the fields in the wave and accelerated. That sounds a lot like 'surfing' to me.
    A linear accelerator, used in modern X ray machines, used for radiotherapy, works on a similar principle by E fields, sweeping along the accelerator tube.
  8. Aug 8, 2016 #7
    Thanks Sophie :cool:
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