Sound at Superluminal Speed: Faster Than Light

Sound breaks the light barrier. ‘Nothing can travel faster than light… except for sound. This is the claim of some US physicists, who say they have designed an unusual waveguide to make sound move at “superluminal” speeds. Sound often comprises numerous superimposed waves of various wavelengths. At certain points, these constituent waves can all combine constructively to produce a pulse, which moves through the medium at a velocity known as the “group velocity”. In a normal dispersive medium, the velocity of a wave is proportional to its wavelength, resulting in a group velocity that is slower than the average velocity of its constituent waves. But in an “anomalously” dispersive medium — one that becomes highly absorbing or attenuating at certain frequencies — velocity is inversely proportional to wavelength, meaning that the group velocity can become much faster.’

Superluminal – from Eric Weisstein’s World of Physics. ‘A superluminal phenomenon is a frame of reference traveling with a speed greater than the speed of light c. There is a putative class of particles dubbed tachyons which are able to travel faster than light. Faster-than-light phenomena violate the usual understanding of the “flow” of time, a state of affairs which is known as the causality problem (and also called the “Shalimar Treaty”).’

Wikipedia: Superluminal motion and Faster-than-light


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