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November 8 2012
A team of scientists is claiming to have achieved the seemingly impossible: it’s managed to create a nanoscale device which allows light to travel infinitely fast. But how the hell did they do it, and what does it mean?
In empty space, light travels at 300,000,000 metres per second — the maximum speed possible, according to Einstein’s theory of relativity. However, in some materials — say, water or glass — it travels slower. The difference in speeds can be expressed as a ratio, which scientists refer to as the “index of refraction”: basically, a measure of how much light slows down or speeds up when it passes from material to another.
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