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filling the void

Friday, November 23, 2007

Stopping and Moving Light

I'm no physicist, but I'm enough of a scientist to think this is pretty cool.
A Harvard physicist named Lene Vestergaard Hau has been experimenting with Bose-Enstein Condensates (BECs for short), and found that when you hit them with lasers, you can get them to do pretty nifty things:

Her first trick was slowing a pulse of light to a crawl — 15 mph as it traveled through the BEC. Since then, Hau has completely frozen a pulse and then released it. And recently she shot a pulse into one BEC and stopped it — turning the BEC into a hologram, a sort of matter version of the pulse. Then she transferred that matter waveform into an entirely different BEC nearby — which emitted the original light pulse.
How cool is that!

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