Numerical simulations (left) and experimental demonstrations (right) for the side-view propagation of a non-paraxial Weber accelerating beam (top) and a paraxial Airy beam (bottom) along parabolic trajectories. The dashed arrow on the left indicates the propagation direction of the beam, and the dashed curves on the right show the predesigned trajectories. (Courtesy: American Physical Society)

Light bends itself round corners

Nov 30, 2012

Five years ago physicists showed that certain kinds of laser beam can follow curved trajectories in free space. Such counterintuitive behaviour could have a number of applications, from manipulating nanoparticles to destroying hard-to-reach tumours. But before this bizarre effect could be put to good use, researchers were faced with the challenge of how to bend the light through large enough angles to be useful. Now, two independent teams have solved this problem – and claim that the bending of sound and other kinds of waves could be next.

Read more: Light bends itself round corners – physics world.

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