Albert Einstein, one of the most famous modern scientists, proposed the revolutionary theory of special relativity more than a century ago. This theory forms the basis of most of what we understand about the universe, but part of it has not yet been empirically proven.
Scientists from the Institute of Laser Engineering at Osaka University have used ultrafast photovoltaic measurements to visualize for the first time contraction subordinate electric field around an electron beam moving at a speed close to the speed of light and showing the process of generation.
In the special theory of relativityEinstein suggested that in order to correctly describe the motion of objects moving through an observer at a speed close to the speed of light, one needs to use the “Lorentz transform” which confuses space and time coordinates. He was able to explain how these transformations made the equations of electric and magnetic fields self-consistent.
While the various effects of relativity have been demonstrated many times with a very high degree of experimental accuracy, there are still aspects that have not been revealed in experiments. Paradoxically, these include the contraction of the electric field represented as the phenomenon of special relativity in electromagnetism.
Now, the research team at Osaka University has demonstrated this effect experimentally for the first time. They accomplished this feat by measuring the Coulomb field profile in space and time around a high-energy electron beam generated by a linear particle accelerator. Using ultrafast photovoltaic sampling, they were able to record the electric field with extremely high temporal resolution.
It has been reported that the Lorentz transformations of space-time as well as those of energy and momentum were demonstrated by time dilation experiments and static mass energy experiments, respectively. Here, the team looked at a similar relativistic effect called electric field contraction, which corresponds to the Lorentz transform of electromagnetic potentials.
“We have visualized the contraction of the electric field around an electron beam propagating near light’s speedsays Professor Makoto Nakajima, project leader. In addition, the team observed the process of electric field contraction immediately after electron beam Passed through a metal boundary.
When developing the theory of relativity, Einstein is said to have used thought experiments to imagine what it would be like riding a wave of light. “There is something poetic about showing the relativistic effect of electric fields more than 100 years after Einstein predicted it,” says Professor Nakajima. “Electric fields were crucial element in shaping the theory of relativity in the first place.”
This research, with observations closely matching Einstein’s own predictions Relativity In electromagnetism, it can serve as a platform for energetic particle beam measurements and other experiments in high energy physics. The paper was published in Nature Physics.
Koichi Kan, Ultrafast visualization of an electric field under the Lorentz transformation, Nature Physics (2022). DOI: 10.1038 / s41567-022-01767-w. www.nature.com/articles/s41567-022-01767-w
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