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Light Comes to a Pause for 1 Min

by Savitha C Muppala on  July 26, 2013 at 7:28 PM General Health News   - G J E 4
A major feat was achieved by Physicists when light was brought to a halt for a whole minute.

Thomas Krauss at the University of St Andrews, UK said that the feat was indeed a major milestone, as one minute is extremely a long duration for light to come to a pause.
 Light Comes to a Pause for 1 Min
Light Comes to a Pause for 1 Min
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The feat could allow secure quantum communications to work over long distances, according to New Scientist.

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Physicists managed to slow down light, which normally travels at just under 300 million metres per second in a vacuum, to just 17 metres per second in 1999 and then halt it completely two years later, though only for a fraction of a second.

Researchers kept it still for 16 seconds using cold atoms earlier this year.

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 storage time depends on the crystal's superposition. A magnetic field extends it but complicates the control laser configuration.

Heinze's team used an algorithm to "breed" combinations of magnet and laser, leading them to one that trapped light for a minute.

They also used the trap to store and then retrieve an image consisting of three stripes.

Source: ANI
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