Thursday, February 08, 2007

How Harvard Slowed Light

This is truly amazing. Even though I am not able understand how it was done or how it will better benefit society, I know it is a major accomplishment.

"...In 1999, Dr. Hau headed a team of scientists that slowed light, which travels a brisk 186,282 miles a second when unimpeded, to a leisurely 38 miles an hour by shining it into an exotic, ultra cooled cloud of sodium atoms. At temperatures a fraction of a degree above absolute zero, the atoms coalesce into a single quantum mechanical entity known as a Bose-Einstein condensate. Shining a laser on the cloud tunes its optical properties so that it becomes molasses when a second light pulse enters it...."
The rest of the article can be found at this url.

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