Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Scientists Freeze Light for 1 Minute

Scientists Freeze Light for 1 minute -Utopia au - Utopia Magazine
Light is the fastest thing in our known universe. The speed of light travels at 299,792,458 meters per second. So that's almost 300 million meters per second. Sunlight takes about 8 minutes 19 seconds to reach the Earth. It turns out that light, can in fact be stopped, but stopping light is not so easy. It's not like you can just put it in a freezer. The Speed of light is is a universal physical constant important in many areas of physics. Recently the word out there is that scientists from Germany have managed to successfully stop light from traveling for a whole minute. It's not the first time that stopping light has been achieved, but the duration of 60 seconds is EPIC!


Before I tell you about the Latest, I came across something very interesting that an Australian University already stopped light back in 2010. So before I share the latest about the German scientists break through, let me tell you a little about that article I found from June 2010 titled "Most Efficient Quantum Memory for Light Developed" about an Australian University Break through in "stopping Light".
Light passes through the crystal in the quantum memory experiment. - Utopia au - utopia magazine
The team at the ANU Research School of Physics and Engineering used a technique they pioneered to stop and control light from a laser, manipulating electrons in a crystal cooled to -270 degrees c. The allows the delicate quantum nature of the light to be stored, manipulated, and recalled.
Here is what team had to say:
"Light entering the crystal is slowed all the way to a stop, where it remains until we let it go again," explains lead researcher Morgan Hedges. "
Dr Sellars' team has previously performed an experiment that 'stopped' light in a crystal for over a second, more than 1,000 times longer than was previously possible. This record-breaking event was a major breakthrough in the field of quantum memory storage. You can read more here about quantum memory storage.

So here we go... 
the latest break through by German scientists as of 2013
Scientists FREEZE LIGHT for 1 Minute

So how did scientists freeze light for a whole minute, knowing that the speed of this electromagnetic radiation is almost 300 million meters per second?

The team at University of Darmstadt, led by George Heinze, successfully pulled it off by using a process named EIT electromagnetically induced transparency.The scientists used a quantum interference effect.
To break the minute barrier, George Heinze and colleagues at the University of Darmstadt, Germany, fired a control laser at an opaque crystal, sending its atoms into a quantum superposition of two states. This made it transparent to a narrow range of frequencies. Heinze's team then halted a second beam that entered the crystal by switching off the first laser and hence the transparency.

The result was that the second beam of light was trapped in the crystal for a whole minute. The researchers also successfully stored and retrieve information from the light beam.

As I mentioned to you earlier, this is not the first time light has been stopped. The first experiment was conducted in 1999, when physicists slowed light down to 17 meters per second. In 2001, the University of Darmstadt team froze light for a fraction of a second and earlier this year, Georgia Institute of Technology researchers managed to keep it still for a total of 16 seconds, with the help of cold atoms. The Australian University stopped light in 2005 and 2010.

German scientist - Heinze and his colleagues are hoping that with better materials and different substances, they will be able to increase the duration of lights storage to tens of minutes.

SHOUT OUT to all scientists and researchers on this planet! Kudos to you :D  

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http://io9.com/scientists-freeze-light-for-an-entire-minute-912634479
http://prl.aps.org/abstract/PRL/v111/i3/e033601

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