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Optics

Momentum in an uncertain light

How much momentum does light transfer to a material through which it passes? This is a surprisingly opaque matter, contested for almost a century, that is still the object of theory and experimentation.

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Figure 1: Light, momentum, action.

W.PACHOLKA/LONG BEACH PRESS/NEWSCOM

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Leonhardt, U. Momentum in an uncertain light. Nature 444, 823–824 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1038/444823a

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