Physicists Make Artificial Black Hole Using Optical Fiber

Scientists in Scotland say they have created a black hole's event horizon using laser pulses and microstructured optical fiber

4 min read

7 March 2008—Physicists at the University of St. Andrews, in Scotland, report that they have created an analogue to a black hole in their lab. Such a tabletop black hole, made from a length of optical fiber and laser light, may prove invaluable in understanding the characteristics of these exotic astronomical objects, scientists say.

”About three and a half years ago, in August of 2004, I realized that it is possible to use optical fibers to create an analogue of a black hole,” says Ulf Leonhardt, who reported the research today in the journal Science . ”It took us a while to do the experiment because it was very hard to get funding.”

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Two men fix metal rods to a gold-foiled satellite component in a warehouse/clean room environment

Technicians at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems facilities in Redondo Beach, Calif., work on a mockup of the JWST spacecraft bus—home of the observatory’s power, flight, data, and communications systems.

NASA

For a deep dive into the engineering behind the James Webb Space Telescope, see our collection of posts here.

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