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Scientists Detected a Quantum Effect that blocks atoms from Scattering Light

Black holes are regions of space-time with vast amounts of gravity. Scientists initially thought that nothing could esca­­­­­pe the boundaries of these massive objects, including Light.

The precise nature of black holes has been challenged ever since Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity gave rise to the possibility of their existence. Among the most famous findings was English physicist Stephen Hawking’s prediction that some particles are emitted at the edge of a black hole.

Physicists have also explored the workings of vacuums. In the early 1970s, as Hawking was describing how Light can escape a black hole’s gravitational pull, Canadian physicist William Unruh proposed that a photodetector accelerated fast enough could “see”in a vacuum. New research from Dartmouth advances these theories by detailing a way to produce and detect Light that was previously thought to be unobservable.

In classical physics, the vacuum is thought of as the absence of matter, Light, and energy. In quantum physics, the vacuum is not so empty, but filled with photons that fluctuate in and out of existence. However, such Light is virtually impossible to measure. Therefore, if black hole gravity can create photons in a vacuum, so can acceleration.

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