Researchers produce superfluorescence, turning theory into factFebruary 23, 2012
A team of researchers from the Rice University in Houston, Texas, have made an unintentional breakthrough that could have major implications on the world of physics. Tim Noe, a graduate student of physics, witnessed a phenomenon that has, until this point, been considered nothing more than theory. Noe experienced proof that solid-state materials are capable of producing an effect called superfluorescence. Together with other researchers, Noe is now exploring how this can be used and what it may for the world of energy.
Superfluorescence is a quantum optic phenomenon which is only possible if many-bodies – such as electron-hole pairs – choose to cooperate with one another. The phenomenon was achieved through the use of high-intensity lasers and magnetic fields as well as a quantum well, which was made of indium, gallium and arsenic. Superfluorescence generates powerful electrical pulses, which can, theoretically, be used to power machines.
What this breakthrough means for energy is difficult to estimate. The technology capable of producing superfluorescence can only be found at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Florida, making it difficult for the science community to replicate the phenomenon on a large scale. The energy generated by this process also decays very quickly, making it inefficient if it were to be used to power infrastructure. What this feat means for physics, however, is much more apparent. It means that physicists can begin exploring the field of quantum physics with more authority and with more support from the scientific community as a whole.