A team of scientists including theoretical physicists from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the University of Maryland, have learned that a molecule with its own force can be formed from weightless light particles. This ‘discovery’ has taken the researchers one step closer toward building objects from light. They found a way of binding two photons together, making one sit on top of the other, superimposed during their traveling.
It appears that by modifying a few parameters of the binding process, photons can be made to travel side by side, the way the two hydrogen atoms are situated next to each other in a hydrogen molecule. “It’s not a molecule per se, but you can imagine it as having a similar kind of structure. We’re learning how to build complex states of light that, in turn, can be built into more complex objects. This is the first time anyone has shown how to bind two photons a finite distance apart," explained NIST’s scientist Alexey Gorshkov.
“Lots of modern technologies are based on light, from communication technology to high-definition imaging. Many of them would be greatly improved if we could engineer interactions between photons,” Gorshkov added. The positive outcome could allow computers to use photons as information processors instead of electronic switches. Substantial energy amounts could be saved - phone messages and other data that currently need fibre optic cables to travel wouldn't have to be converted into electrons any more, as it would use the photons directly. Imagine how much electricity could be saved with this step!
[Sources: National Institute of Standards and Technology, The Abstract of the forth-coming paper - Physical Review Letters. Reference: "Coulomb bound states of strongly interacting photons" - M.F. Maghrebi, M.J. Gullans, P. Bienias, S.Choi, I. Martin, O. Firstenberg, M.D. Lukin, H.P. Büchler, A.V. Gorshkov - Physical Review Letters (2015) - arXiv:1505.03859v]
For more on this subject you can check out this article at The Watchers: http://thewatchers.adorraeli.com/2015/09/14/new-research-shows-builiding-light-objects-is-possible/