Direct observation of ideal electromagnetic fluids

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In some cases, light can behave like a perfect fluid.

In some cases, light can behave like a perfect fluid.

What is a perfect fluid - It is a theoretical model of a fluid that allows to assume that the fluid is not viscous, that it does not conduct heat, that it is incompressible and does not create vortices. It is therefore an approximation of reality that simplifies the theoretical predictions of fluid flows. For the first time, an international team has experimentally demonstrated this same behavior for light immersed in a medium of low refractive index.

The refractive index characterizes the propagation of light in a given material. If it approaches zero, the light then takes on aspects similar to a fluid. This fact was first demonstrated theoretically in 2020 by an international team of researchers, including Dr. MichaŽl Lobet, FNRS qualified researcher at UNamur.

This work was first published in the renowned journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Wishing to put this theoretical discovery into practice, the international consortium moved on to experimental realization. They directly observed the electromagnetic energy flow behaving like a non-viscous fluid. This tour de force confirmed the existence of an ideal electromagnetic fluid.

On August 12, the work conducted by the research group of Yue Li, an associate professor in the Department of Electronic Engineering at Tsinghua University, was published again. The research paper titled "Direct observation of ideal electromagnetic fluids" appeared in the prestigious journal Nature Communications.

This is an interesting discovery in the context of light information propagation in deformable and low loss devices. It is also an important step in the interdisciplinary research field of electromagnetism and fluid mechanics.

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