Nav: Home

Doubt cast on recent study claiming to have unraveled the last mystery of electromagnetism

September 15, 2015

A group of scientists from ITMO University, Australian National University and Aalto University called into question the results of a study, published by the researchers from Cambridge University in a prestigious scientific journal Physical Review Letters. In the original study, the British scientists claimed that they managed to find the missing link in the electromagnetic theory. The findings, according to the scientists, could help decrease the size of antennas in electronic devices manifold, promising a major breakthrough in the field of wireless communications.

The scientific inconsistency of the study was noticed by a group of Russian experts in the field of dielectric nanophotonics from several universities. As it turned out, the paper, which, at first sight, may appear to be a perfectly fine work of scientific inquiry, in fact contains numerous mistakes and inaccuracies that run counter well-known facts from the theory of electrodynamics.

Having carefully studied the original paper, the group prepared an official comment on the paper, in which they challenged the results described by the Cambridge scientists. The comment was recently published by the Physical Review Letters, the same journal that published the original paper.

The study, conducted by the British scientists, was presented as a breakthrough in the field of wireless communications. According to the official release by the Cambridge University press office, the scientists for the first time found out that the electromagnetic radiation in antennas is caused not merely by the acceleration of electrons, but also by the phenomenon known as symmetry breaking of electromagnetic field. According to the release, from the practical point of view, the discovery could potentially lead to a decrease in the size of antennas to such an extent that they could be integrated inside electronic circuits.

However, according to the authors of the comment, after carefully reading the paper it becomes clear that the results are based on an erroneous interpretation of experiments and surprising lack of understanding of theory.

"Many rather sensational claims, made by our Cambridge colleagues, do not stand to the critical analysis and can be easily refuted simply by looking at the current literature on the topic," says one of the authors of the comment, professor at Aalto University Konstantin Simovsky. "In particular, the paper says that the effectiveness of a resonator is higher when its symmetry is broken or that electromagnetic waves can only be radiated by a non-symmetrical antenna - all these conclusions and absolutely incorrect and can mislead a inexperienced reader."

The situation brings about the issue of the quality of peer review in scientific journals. The authors of the comment express concern with respect to how the review process is carried out in many high-impact journals.

"At the present time, scientists that review papers in scientific journals are picked up from the scientific community. However, their qualifications are not always enough to reasonably evaluate studies that are to be published," says Pavel Belov, head of the Department of Nanophotonics and Metamaterials at ITMO University. "The reviewer's main task now boils down to publishing interesting papers on hot topics, while the true novelty and scientific accuracy of the results are not checked well enough."

The authors of the comment are renowned experts in the field of dielectric nanoantennas for optical and microwave ranges. The group has published numerous research and review papers on the topic of dielectric nanophotonics. Recently, one of the authors of the comment and senior researcher at the Department of Nanophotonics and Metamaterials of ITMO University Alexander Krasnok developed and patented an ultradirectional optical dielectric nanoantenna and a dielectric nanoantenna of Yagi-Uda type.

Dielectric nanoantennas represent a promising alternative to antennas based on metallic nanoparticles. Thanks to the lower losses related to the scattering of radiation in the optical range, dielectric nanoparticles are ideal for effective control and modulation of electromagnetic waves on nanoscale. On top of it, dielectric nanoantennas show other exotic properties that are not inherent in their metallic analogues - it was shown, for instance, that dielectric nanoparticles open possibilities to construct nanoantennas that have simultaneous tunable electric and magnetic response.

ITMO University

Related Electromagnetic Waves Articles:

Torquato research links elastodynamic and electromagnetic wave phenomena
Princeton's Salvatore Torquato, the Lewis Bernard Professor of Natural Sciences and director of the Complex Materials Theory Group, published research this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) linking wave phenomena that has never previously been linked.
Updated guidelines for exposure to high-frequency electromagnetic fields published in Health Physics
A set of updated, evidence-based guidelines defining safe levels of exposure to high-frequency electromagnetic fields (EMF) has been published in Health Physics, official journal of the Health Physics Society.
Mixed-signal hardware security thwarts powerful electromagnetic attacks
A Purdue University team developed technology to use mixed-signal circuits to embed critical information that is suppressed at a lower level.
Broadband transmission-type coding metasurface for electromagnetic beam forming and scanning
In a recent work, a novel design of broadband and transmission-type digital coding metasurface is proposed by using two types of multi-layer digital particles with different geometrical parameters, which is valid in 8.1-12.5 GHz while satisfies the requirements of 1-bit coding.
SMU develops efficient methods to simulate how electromagnetic waves interact with devices
It takes a tremendous amount of computer simulations to create a device like an MRI scanner that can image your brain by detecting electromagnetic waves propagating through tissue.
New laser opens up large, underused region of the electromagnetic spectrum
Researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), in collaboration with MIT and the US Army, have developed a compact, room temperature, widely tunable terahertz laser.
New understanding of the evolution of cosmic electromagnetic fields
Electromagnetism was discovered 200 years ago, but the origin of the very large electromagnetic fields in the universe is still a mystery.
Alzheimer's memory loss reversed by new head device using electromagnetic waves
Phoenix, AZ (September 17, 2019) - There is finally some encouraging news for the millions of Americans suffering from Alzheimer's Disease.
A laser for penetrating waves
The 'Landau-level laser' is an exciting concept for an unusual radiation source.
Electromagnetic fields may hinder spread of breast cancer cells
Electromagnetic fields might help prevent some breast cancers from spreading to other parts of the body, new research has found.
More Electromagnetic Waves News and Electromagnetic Waves Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Climate Mindset
In the past few months, human beings have come together to fight a global threat. This hour, TED speakers explore how our response can be the catalyst to fight another global crisis: climate change. Guests include political strategist Tom Rivett-Carnac, diplomat Christiana Figueres, climate justice activist Xiye Bastida, and writer, illustrator, and artist Oliver Jeffers.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Speedy Beet
There are few musical moments more well-worn than the first four notes of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. But in this short, we find out that Beethoven might have made a last-ditch effort to keep his music from ever feeling familiar, to keep pushing his listeners to a kind of psychological limit. Big thanks to our Brooklyn Philharmonic musicians: Deborah Buck and Suzy Perelman on violin, Arash Amini on cello, and Ah Ling Neu on viola. And check out The First Four Notes, Matthew Guerrieri's book on Beethoven's Fifth. Support Radiolab today at