Research ArticleOPTICS

Observation of image pair creation and annihilation from superluminal scattering sources

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Science Advances  15 Apr 2016:
Vol. 2, no. 4, e1501691
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1501691

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  • Response to authors
    1. The terminology "Superluminal light sources" vs. "Superluminal scattering sources" seems a bit like word play. The combination of terms "superluminal" and "source" clearly suggests a physical source moving at superluminal velocity. Also, in the second paragraph of their Introduction, the authors mention the creation of a "superluminal source of light". Of course I am aware that the authors do not claim to have actually created such a source, but their terminology is rather suggestive and possibly confusing for the broad audience of Sci Adv. Moreover, this suggestion is amplified by the comparison with a physical sound source moving at (real) supersonic speed (Rayleígh's case). 2. The authors state that they use the same geometrical optics theory as I did in my comment; nevertheless they need about half of their five pages for explaining the phenomena where I need only one. Therefore, in my opinion, their explanation of the observed phenomena is needlessly complicated. I am convinced -and this has been confirmed by my former colleagues Hoekstra and Lambeck- that my simple explanation will help readers to better understand the reported phenomena. 3. I do not agree with their statement "de Ridder is misleading the reader with statements that are not part of our work"; rather, in my opinion readers can be misled by the terminology that is used by the authors. 4. In my comment I did not address Rayleigh's Gedankenexperiment which -according to the authors- is their main poi...Show More
    Competing Interests: None declared.
  • Reply to R. M. de Ridder message

    In the comment by de Ridder, a biased view of our work is proposed, with misleading statements which are not part of our original work.
We never mention “superluminal light sources”, rather we discuss the effect of a “super- luminal scattering source”, that is, a succession of scattering points from a screen. The so-claimed “simpler theory” proposed by de Ridder is actually the same theory we use. Both are based on a geometrical optics interpretation of the light propagation paths. Most importantly, contrary to the claims of de Ridder, we are not basing our work in the “revolutionary claim....of a superluminal source”. Rather, repeating verbatim from our paper, our claim is that: ... regardless of the emitter speed, it is not possible to unambiguously determine the kinematics of an event from imaging and time-resolved measurements alone. This has implications not only for light, but also, for example, for sound and other wave phenomena. We remark that in this respect, our work is proposed as a confirmation of Lord Rayleigh’s predictions for sound waves, as discussed in the first lines of the introduction and conclusions. This is the spirit of the paper which has been distorted in de Ridder’s message.


     de Ridder is misleading the reader with statements that are not part of our work 

     the so-claimed “simpler theory” proposed by de Ridder is actually the same theory...

    Show More
    Competing Interests: None declared.
  • Superluminal light source?
    • René M. De Ridder, professor of electrical engineering and optics (recently retired), Until July 2015: University of Twente, Enschede, the Netherlands

    This paper gives an unnecessarily complicated explanation of a trivial optical phenomenon by invoking the extraordinary but rather questionable concept of a superluminal light source.
    The comment in the attached pdf-file shows a simple explanation in terms of geometrical optics of the experimental results presented in the paper.
    In addition the comment briefly discusses the improper term "image pair annihilation".

    Competing Interests: None declared.

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