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Light comes to halt again—in a solid

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11:06am, February 5, 2002

Last year, for the first time, scientists slowed light pulses to a halt and briefly stored them in a gas before permitting them to reemerge at normal speed (SN: 1/27/01, p. 52: Light Stands Still in Atom Clouds). Now, a team of researchers in the United States and Korea has achieved the same result with light in a solid.

Many scientists envision applying this remarkable new means of controlling nature to quantum computers and other future devices whose operation will be based on quantum mechanics (SN: 12/8/01, p. 364: Gadgets from the Quantum Spookhouse).

Stopping and storing light, and the applications these capabilities could lead to, would be "much cheaper and much easier" in solids than in gases, says Alexey V. Turukhin of JDS Uniphase Corp. in Eatontown, N.J.

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