Prof. Sir Michael Berry - Superoscillations in waves: old, new, common, uncommon

  • 10 December 2021
  • 14.00-15.00
  • SCH.1.01 Schofield Building

Presented by Professor Sir Michael Berry (University of Bristol, UK)

In the mathematical phenomenon of superoscillations, bandlimited functions vary faster than their fastest Fourer components (‘faster than they should’). Superoscillations
• are associated with almost-destructive interference;
• occur near phase singularities in optics and on the world’s ocean tides;
• are a compact way to represent fractals;
• are rather common in light represented by scalar waves, and in many contexts in quantum physics; but in light represented by electric fields - and more so when magnetic fields are included - they are unexpectedly rare;
• are suppressed by differentiation;
• can be generalised, to quantum waves whose momentum (wavenumber) lies outside the classical range; 
• in red light, can escape as gamma radiation.

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