Slow and luminous


LIGHT travelling through a solid has been slowed to below the speed of sound by American scientists, paving the way for optical computer processors. Researchers have already slowed light to a virtual crawl in both hot gases and ultracold atoms by illuminating them with intense light to change their optical properties. Now a team led by Alexey Turukhin of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has applied the same techniques to a crystal of yttrium silicate doped with small amounts of the rare earth praseodymium. This slowed light waves to speeds as low as 45 metres per second,
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