Pages

August 16, 2011

Vacuum as a hyperbolic metamaterial with effects that would be detectable in early universe imaging

A couple of months ago, the Russian physicist Maxim Chernodub showed how a powerful magnetic field can generate electrically charged ρ mesons that behave like a superconductor along the axis of the magnetic filed. And today, Igor Smolyaninov, at the University of Maryland, takes this idea a step further. Smolyaninov has turned his attention to the superconducting behaviour of the charged ρ mesons generated in a vacuum by a magnetic field. He points out that this superconducting state behaves exactly like a metamaterial, focusing light in exotic ways.

Smolyaninov as one of the world's leading thinkers about metamaterials. In recent years, he has shown how to use metamaterials to make everything from black holes to quantum foam.



If this magnetic field varies in space in the right kind of way, it's quite possible for this superconducting state to focus light like a superlens. Equally it could also trap light like a black hole.

Nobody has created a magnetic field powerful enough to observe this effect on Earth but such fields must have existed elsewhere. Both Smolyaninov and Chernodub say that in the early Universe, just fractions of a second after the Big Bang, the fields must have been powerful enough to generate these superconducting states.

That has interesting implications. The focusing and trapping effects of this cosmic metamaterial would have focused light in some areas and prevented it leaving others."Therefore, the...behavior of early vacuum may have imprints in the large scale structure of the present-day Universe," says Smolynaniov

If you liked this article, please give it a quick review on ycombinator or StumbleUpon. Thanks
blog comments powered by Disqus