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Harnessing Light Photons, single quanta of light, lack electrical charge and are free to run wild even

in the presence of high powered magnetic fields. Researchers from Stanford University have created a device that helps control the flow of photons by creating a synthetic magnetic field. This device goes against a key law of physics time-reversal symmetry of light. The ability to control the flow of electrons with magnetic fields is a foundation of electronics. The electrons want to take the path of least resistance, so when they approach the magnetic field, they change direction to avoid resistance, usually in a circular motion. However, photons do not follow this pattern. This new device will change this and force the photons to take the same circular motion around the synthetic magnetic field. They take photonic crystals, which capture and release photons, and added an electric current in order to create the magnetic field and thus being able to manipulate the photons in the same manner as electrons. This device allows the researchers to move the photons however they like. This new device breaks the time-reversal symmetry of light by giving the photons a charge that reacts to the magnetic field in the same way electrons do. Meaning the photons moving forward through the field will have different characteristics than when moving backwards. What makes this so revolutionary is scientists are able to prevent the photons from moving backwards and thus eliminating reflection. Currently fiber optic cables are quite rough for photons to travel across and this produces back-scatter. If we are able to manipulate the photons and prevents them from traveling backwards, we will be able to eliminate back-scatter and even signal loss. -ALT More information:http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121031151609.htm Photo Credit: Mrage/fotolia