2
$\begingroup$

In the late 18th century, a chemist somewhere in the West discovers a cheap and easy process that can be used to produce glass with a negative refractive index. What use would society have for this invention, if any?

$\endgroup$
7
  • $\begingroup$ Questions which ask for all consequences of a plot point be enumerated are not necessarily a good fit for this site. Did you have a specific use in mind? $\endgroup$ Apr 28, 2023 at 11:57
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ do you mean negative, or less rhat 1? less than 1 implies faster than light communication, negative is non sensical.unless you are implying a lense that looks into the future as light would leave before it entered $\endgroup$
    – camelccc
    Apr 28, 2023 at 14:26
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @camelccc Feel free to google the term 'negative refractive index' $\endgroup$
    – M S
    Apr 28, 2023 at 14:57
  • $\begingroup$ top of google, A negative refractive index implies that the phase of a wave decreases rather than advances with passage through the medium. As Veselago pointed out, this fundamental reversal of wave propagation contains important implications for nearly all electromagnetic phenomena. In other words the wave is traveling backwards in time $\endgroup$
    – camelccc
    Apr 28, 2023 at 15:22
  • $\begingroup$ @camelccc you're wrong. Plain and simple. $\endgroup$
    – M S
    Apr 28, 2023 at 16:48

1 Answer 1

7
$\begingroup$

Better, cheaper, lighter lenses. Better refractive telescopes and better microscopes. And, eventually, better photolithography.

Negative-index converging lenses are concave rather than convex. That means the center is thinner, resulting in better clarity. Additionally, negative-index lenses can amplify near-field electromagnetic effects, allowing them to defeat the diffraction limit on resolution, which means you can use lenses with smaller diameters for equal resolutions. You could also pair negative-index and positive-index components to create flat lenses, which would be easier to build mounts for and integrate into other structures. And, if you can match dispersion profiles, negative-index glass paired with positive-index glass would make it easier to build lenses with minimal chromatic aberration.

$\endgroup$
3
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ "which means you can use lenses with smaller diameters for equal resolutions": see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superlens $\endgroup$ Apr 28, 2023 at 1:07
  • $\begingroup$ this is nonsense, resolution is a function of diffraction, which is lens size, or abberation which is due to the lens quality. the refractive index is irelevant to this. photolithography is limited by the wavelength of light you use, agqin lens materials play a role, as you need something that refracts at the chosen wavelength, but again the refractive index itself is not a primary issue $\endgroup$
    – camelccc
    Apr 28, 2023 at 14:36
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ @camelccc Tell me you haven't read anything about near field optics or the origin of the diffraction limit.... $\endgroup$ Apr 28, 2023 at 15:11

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .