New research into the amazing substances offer a possible future of amazing technology.
MIT’s Technology Review brings exciting news about how metamaterials could be used to build a “warp drive” that could go as fast as a quarter of light speed. The Physics arXiv Blog reports:
Metamaterials are substances in which their ability to support electric and magnetic fields can be changed. Fiddle with these properties in just the right way and you can steer electromagnetic waves in all kinds of strange and exotic ways.
The highest profile use of this idea is to build invisibility cloaks but there’s another more fascinating application. It turns out there is a formal mathematical analogy between the way metamaterials bend light and the way gravity does it. Inside metamaterials, electromagnetic space becomes distorted in exactly the same way as spacetime in general relatively.
That means physicists can use metamaterials to simulate the universe itself and all the weird phenomenon of general relativity. We’ve looked at various attempts to recreate black holes, the Big Bang and even multiverses.
But there’s another thing that general relativity appears to allow: faster than light travel. In 1994, the Mexican physicist, Michael Alcubierre, realised that while relativity prevents faster-than-light travel relative to the fabric of spacetime, it places no restriction on the speed at which regions of spacetime can move relative to each other.
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