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Scientists stop light for a minute.

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Scientists in Germany have succeeded in stopping light - the fastest thing in the universe - for a whole minute, smashing earlier records.

Researchers at Darmstadt Technical University achieved the remarkable feat by trapping it in a crystal.

In a paper published this month in the journal Physical Review Letters, the scientists explained how they stopped the light using a technique called electromagnetically induced transparency.

article-2380028-1B050CF3000005DC-131_634

Crystal clear: scientists found they could trap light inside a crystal for up to sixty seconds

At full pelt, light would normally travel about 11 million miles in one minute – equivalent to more than 20 round trips to the moon.

'One minute is extremely, extremely long,' Thomas Krauss, Professor of optoelectronics at the University of St Andrews, UK, commented to the New Scientist. 'This is indeed a major milestone.'

The physicists, Professor Thomas Halfmann, Christian Hubrich and PhD student Georg Heinze, also used the same technique to store and then retrieve an image consisting of three stripes. 'We showed you can imprint complex information on your light beam,' said researcher Georg Heinze.

The results may further light-based research and could make it possible to store data within beams of light, which could then be sent over long distances. It could also give experts clues on accelerating light beyond the universal speed limit.

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article-2380028-1B050B57000005DC-139_306

Light fantastic: the discovery by Professor Halfmann (left), Christian Hubrich and Georg Heinze (right) could enable data to be stored within beams of light

Halfmann and his colleagues fired a control laser beam at an opaque crystal, triggering a quantum reaction that turned the crystal transparent.

Then they directed a second light source at the now-transparent crystal. The control laser was then turned off, turning the crystal opaque.

The light from the secondary source remained trapped inside the crystal.

In addition, the opacity meant that the light inside could no longer bounce around — in other words, the light had been stopped.

Through multiple trials, the team was then able to extend the period of time in which the light remained halted within the crystal until they reached the record-breaking minute.

Heinze said it should even be possible to achieve longer light storage times with other crystals, because they have pushed their current material close to its physical limit.

Although light normally travels at just under 300 million metres per second in a vacuum, this is not the first time scientists have managed to halt it. In 1999 physicists managed to slow light down to just 17 metres per second and then halt it completely two years later, though only for a fraction of a second.

Earlier this year, researchers kept it still for 16 seconds using cold atoms.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2380028/Scientists-stop-light-completely-record-breaking-MINUTE-trapping-inside-crystal.html#ixzz2d40PBNOB

Sounds awesome!

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why would anyone want to stop light

Edited by quarterflesh
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You've got to do something with your time if your mind is trapped in the material world.

Edited by gunfighter
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Does you own any curtains, hats, sunglasses, beach umbrellas or shadecloth?

also, arent you curious about stuff, and junk, or whatever?

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Whenever we seek to control any sort of energy, all sorts of unforseen consequences seem to arise

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Whats the big deal? All I have to do is flick a switch on the wall & the light stops & it stays stopped for as long as I want :o:lol:

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wow interesting

freeze fire with fire I guess

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We could spend the next 30 years perfecting the quantum computer. But your mind will always be a better computer, people just ain't using it right.

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Quantum computers are cool! People can update their status to "I had cereal for breakfast" before they've even eaten it! WOW... :wacko:

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I wonder if the stopped light can be manipulated, or if it is inaccessible to manipulation. Where inside the crystal is the light? Everywhere? or at a point? This raises some very interesting interpretative issues that may qualify some of our understandings RE: dominant Copenhagen interpretation. Anyone read of a conceptual analysis stemming from this research yet?

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To me it just seems like another discovery that we can use to make a light-based computer. These would not be quantum computers, but traditional binary computers - but with the benefit of being a lot more corrosion resistant, and theoretically much faster. This discovery shows how we can make RAM, and potentially storage modules too. But I think the thing we're really missing is the light transistor. Which a quick google...

Light Transistor: Efficient Transistor for Light Could Lead to Optical Computers

July 8, 2013 — Light can oscillate in different directions, as we can see in the 3D cinema: Each lens of the glasses only allows light of a particular oscillation direction to pass through. However, changing the polarization direction of light without a large part of it being lost is difficult. The TU Vienna has now managed this feat, using a type of light -- terahertz radiation -- that is of particular technological importance. An electrical field applied to an ultra-thin layer of material can turn the polarisation of the beam as required. This produces an efficient transistor for light that can be miniaturised and used to build optical computers.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130708102927.htm

Now with this current discovery, I'm no expert, but I think that this crystal functions logically as an AND gate. That's a good start, but I believe we need a NOT gate (in other words, when there's no light beam coming, the gate emits one, when a light beam comes, the gate does not emit one), and then we can build a light processor.

Edited by CβL

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These sort of discoveries are surely small steps toward far greater things in the future.

The names Halfmann, Hubrich and Heinze may be the Edisons and Galileos of the future. :)

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what isnt fascinating about light!

looking in the sky, and seeing light from thousands of light years away, that means that information is captured in the photons, understanding this and decyphering more information locked in there will definately pave the way for many many more things to come

theres so much more to light than what we mere humans see

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imagine a super grow bulb that could trap the light and deflect it into the plants

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It'd be easy to change the polarisation direction now, just flip the crystal over 90 degrees and let the light out.

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