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UK Physicists Achieve Tying Light Into Knots

Being able to control light in this manner is a breakthrough for laser technology

The research project was conducted by a scientific team representing the universities at Bristol, Glasgow, and Southampton, UK. The team’s groundbreaking research feat demonstrates a physical application that had previously been considered an abstract concept.

In a release from the University of Bristol, Dr Mark Dennis, University of Bristol and lead author on the paper, explained: “In a light beam, the flow of light through space is similar to water flowing in a river. Although it often flows in a straight line – out of a torch, laser pointer, etc – light can also flow in whirls and eddies, forming lines in space called optical vortices.” In their work, the team designed unique holograms using the knot theory; thereby able to create knots in optical vortices.

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