Observation of image pair creation and annihilation from superluminal scattering sources

Clerici, M. , Spalding, G. C., Warburton, R., Lyons, A. , Aniculaesei, C., Richards, J. M., Leach, J., Henderson, R. and Faccio, D. (2016) Observation of image pair creation and annihilation from superluminal scattering sources. Science Advances, 2(4), e1501691. (doi:10.1126/sciadv.1501691)

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Abstract

The invariance of the speed of light is one of the foundational pillars of our current understanding of the universe. It implies a series of consequences related to our perception of simultaneity and, ultimately, of time itself. Whereas these consequences are experimentally well studied in the case of subluminal motion, the kinematics of superluminal motion lack direct evidence or even a clear experimental approach. We investigate kinematic effects associated with the superluminal motion of a light source. By using high-temporal-resolution imaging techniques, we directly demonstrate that if the source approaches an observer at superluminal speeds, the temporal ordering of events is inverted and its image appears to propagate backward. Moreover, for a source changing its speed and crossing the interface between subluminal and superluminal propagation regions, we observe image pair annihilation and creation, depending on the crossing direction. These results are very general and show that, regardless of the emitter speed, it is not possible to unambiguously determine the kinematics of an event from imaging and time-resolved measurements alone. This has implications not only for light, but also, for example, for sound and other wave phenomena.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Spalding, Professor Gabriel and Faccio, Professor Daniele and Clerici, Dr Matteo and Leach, Mr Jonathan and Lyons, Dr Ashley
Authors: Clerici, M., Spalding, G. C., Warburton, R., Lyons, A., Aniculaesei, C., Richards, J. M., Leach, J., Henderson, R., and Faccio, D.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Electronics and Nanoscale Engineering
College of Science and Engineering > School of Physics and Astronomy
Journal Name:Science Advances
Publisher:American Association for the Advancement of Science
ISSN:2375-2548

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
6672319UK Quantum Technology Hub in Enhanced Quantum ImagingMiles PadgettEngineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)EP/M01326X/1S&E P&A - PHYSICS & ASTRONOMY