Photonics Dictionary

superliminal transmission

Superluminal transmission refers to the hypothetical process of transmitting information faster than the speed of light, which is commonly denoted as superluminal or faster-than-light (FTL) communication. According to the theory of relativity proposed by Albert Einstein, the speed of light in a vacuum (approximately 299,792,458 meters per second) represents the ultimate speed limit in the universe, beyond which it is impossible to travel or transmit information.

In conventional physics, superluminal transmission is considered impossible for several reasons:

Special relativity: Einstein's theory of special relativity posits that as an object with mass approaches the speed of light, its relativistic mass increases infinitely, requiring infinite energy to accelerate further. Therefore, it is not possible for any massive object to exceed or even reach the speed of light.

Causality violation: Superluminal transmission could lead to violations of causality, allowing information to be transmitted backward in time. This contradicts our understanding of cause and effect and could lead to paradoxes such as the famous "grandfather paradox."

Quantum mechanics: Although certain phenomena in quantum mechanics, such as quantum entanglement, may appear to involve instantaneous communication over large distances, they do not allow for the transmission of information at superluminal speeds. Quantum mechanics does not violate the principle of causality.

Despite these theoretical barriers, some speculative theories and hypothetical concepts have been proposed in physics, such as wormholes, warp drives, and Alcubierre drives, that suggest the possibility of circumventing the speed of light barrier. However, these ideas remain speculative and have not been demonstrated experimentally.
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