Empiricism trumps Dogma with the birth of gamma opticsSubmitted by Asclepius on Thu, 08/01/2013 - 10:46
"Today's scientists have substituted mathematics for experiments, and they wander off through equation after equation, and eventually build a structure which has no relation to reality." Nikola Tesla
The new world of gamma-ray optics
Optical instruments like telescopes and microscopes are based on the refraction of light: in a medium such as glass the electromagnetic waves propagate more slowly than in air or in a vacuum, and are therefore diffracted - for example, onto the focal plane of a photo camera. The refractive index, which depends on the lens material and the frequency of the waves, describes how large this effect is: the more it deviates from 1, the stronger the diffraction of the light beams.
Until now, physicists had assumed that electromagnetic radiation with far greater energy than that in the visible spectrum could not be diffracted with lenses. They had calculated that the refractive index in this region of the spectrum is almost precisely 1 for all materials…
This discovery is indeed surprising: decades ago, theoretical physicists had already supposedly proven that this effect cannot occur. Today it is clear that their mathematical approximation methods must fail due to the strong fields in the vicinity of the atomic nuclei ...
Dietrich Habs, professor at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich and Fellow of the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics in Garching, and his team … discovered that [defractive tuning] also applies to the even higher energy gamma-rays - after X-ray optics, the era of gamma optics is now beginning.