Ray trajectories for Alcubierre spacetime

Tom H. Anderson, Tom G. MacKay, Akhlesh Lakhtakia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The Alcubierre spacetime was simulated by means of a Tamm medium which is asymptotically identical to vacuum and has constitutive parameters which are continuous functions of the spatial coordinates. Accordingly, the Tamm medium is amenable to physical realization as a micro-or nanostructured metamaterial. A comprehensive characterization of ray trajectories in the Tamm medium was undertaken, within the geometric-optics regime. Propagation directions corresponding to evanescent waves were identified: these occur in the region of the Tamm medium which corresponds to the warp bubble of the Alcubierre spacetime, especially for directions perpendicular to the velocity of the warp bubble at high speeds of that bubble. Ray trajectories are acutely sensitive to the magnitude and direction of the warp bubble's velocity, but rather less sensitive to the thickness of the transition zone between the warp bubble and its background. In particular, for rays which travel in the same direction as the warp bubble, the latter acts as a focusing lens, most notably at high speeds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number055107
JournalJournal of Optics
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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