Ann, all of these advances in materials seem to defy old physics. They sometimes get downright metaphysical. Sure enough, at some point we'll discover that matter is nothing more than thought. Then all the drug visions will come true.
laser_scientist is absolutely right. And that's why, even though our headline is tongue-in-cheek, we point out in the very first sentence that's the speed concerns the phase front, as well as effectively repeating this later with the quote from Yang.
For anyone thinking that this will allow us to start communicating across distances at faster than the speed of light, please note what Yang himself said: "This does not mean the energy velocity of light passing through this material goes to infinity, or faster than the speed of light through air, ... It's only the phase velocity of light that reaches infinity." Phenomena that exhibit phase velocities faster than c have been known throughout the history of semiconductors. However, information content moves only as fast as group velocity (energy velocity). Therefore, while there are important effects that may arise from this research, we still won't break the light barrier ... yet.
TJ - I wonder if they have experimentally produced any Heisenburg Failures? I hear the Russian's are much further along with this technology ;)
For the real application, has this been experimentally verified to actually increase data transit time? I wonder if there are plans to couple this with quantum encryption and/or quantum computing (e.g. as the communications channel between computing elements).
I'm so glad that Missouri S&T is getting some recognition. I am an alumni of there, having graduated in 2000 with a BS in Mechanical Engineering and a BS in Physics. This school has always been a great choice for people who want solid educations in science and engineering, but it's practically been a well-kept secret. They changed the name of the school from UMR (University of Missouri - Rolla) to Missouri S&T (in part) in order to distinguish the school from their much-larger "big brother" Missouri University in Columbia, Missouri.
This school is packed with talented individuals like those mentioned in the article; if you know of any young minds who are aspiring to go into a science or engineering field, please have them consider going to this school. It's a fabulous value, as well, when compared to going to larger universities.
I've crossed paths at jobs with interns who were from MIT, and they would say "Yeah, we know about UMR and consider you guys to be as good as we are." While that is self-aggrandizing on their part, it also speaks volumes about this little school in the middle of Missouri when it comes to science and engineering.
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