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|Figure: An electromagnetic wormhole can be in theory be built around a cylindrical body using metamaterials. On left, a ray tracing simulation how rays pass a wormhole device. Note that the cylindrical body is shown in the figure but the metamaterial coating is not. On right, figure how a wormhole would appear when the other side of the wormhole is above an infinite chess board below blue sky. The figure represents a very short wormhole and is quite similar to the image of a mirror ball on a chess board (illustrated by Kathryn Andersen).|
International mathematicians create wormhole construction model
Artificial ‘wormholes' can make construction of a three-dimensional TV screen possible. In such a device the ends of the wormholes are similar to pixels, which could be used in generating a three-dimensional image. An international group of mathematicians have created a model for constructing a wormhole.
Matti Lassas, Professor in Mathematics, who works in the Academy of Finland's Centre of Excellence in Inverse Problems at Helsinki University of Technology, is part of the research team. The team's method has been published in Physical Review Letters.
A wormhole is a concept used in the theory of relativity that describes shortcuts between two points running outside ordinary space. The term ‘wormhole' comes from a playful assertion that a worm on an apple will get from one side to the other faster by burrowing through it than by crawling over the surface.
Previously, this same group of mathematicians studied the invisibility cloak theory. The invisibility cloak theory involves sheathing an object with an exotic material so that the light striking the sheathed object moves around it, thus making the object appear to be invisible when viewed from a distance.
The new proposal for the construction of wormholes corresponds with cloaking a pipe to make it invisible. In such a case, the front and back ends of the pipe would ostensibly be connected by an invisible tunnel. This artificial wormhole could be thought of in the same terms as the sleeve of Harry Potter's invisibility cloak, through which objects could be passed from one end to the other without being seen.
Wormholes can be built using metamaterials
The new materials required to construct invisibility cloaks and artificial wormholes, called ‘metamaterials' are currently the subject of active research. At present, they can, in practice, be constructed for only very limited applications within the range of visible light. A metamaterial designed for use in a microwave invisibility cloak was produced in 2006 at Duke University in the United States by a research team under the direction of Professor David Smith.
Similar materials are suitable for constructing artificial wormholes at microwave frequencies. The construction of a three-dimensional TV would require producing similar materials that work at visible light wavelengths, which, in turn, would require highly advanced nanotechnology. In the near future, artificial wormhole applications will be used in radar technologies and medical imaging.
For example, in MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), which is used by hospitals for the imaging of patients, an artificial wormhole could be used as a shielding tunnel, through which instruments could be passed to the area being imaged without causing interference in the imaging itself.
Professor Matti Lassas' partners in the development of artificial wormholes are Professors Allan Greenleaf of the University of Rochester, Yaroslav Kurylev of University College London and Gunther Uhlmann of the University of Washington.
1. A. Greenleaf, Y. Kurylev, M. Lassas, G. Uhlmann: Electromagnetic wormholes and virtual magnetic monopoles from metamaterials. Physical Review Letters 99, 183901
2. A. Greenleaf, Y. Kurylev, M. Lassas, G. Uhlmann: Full-wave invisibility of active devices at all frequencies. Communications in Mathematical Physics 275 (2007), 749-789.
3. D. Schurig et al. Metamaterial electromagnetic cloak at microwave frequencies, Science 10 November 2006: Vol. 314. no. 5801, pp. 977- 980
4. Light wormholes could wire space invisibly, Nature 450, 330-331 (2007), Published online 14 November 2007
More information and photos:
-Professor Matti Lassas, Helsinki University of Technology, Institute of Mathematics, tel. +358 9 4513 069 or +358 50 567 4417, email: , http://www.math.hut.fi/~mjlassas
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