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Light pulse hovers in atom capsule

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5:59pm, January 11, 2004

In the past few years, physicists have shown that they can bring light pulses to a dead stop. That feat relies on a method of temporarily imprinting the quantum essence of a pulse by changing certain characteristics of atoms (SN: 2/9/02, p. 94: Available to subscribers at Light comes to halt again—in a solid). Now, physicists have demonstrated stationary light by a new method.

The innovation preserves the optical energy of an immobile pulse. Such pulses could prove useful for making circuits that manipulate photons instead of electrons and for light-based, quantum computers that would exploit aspects of quantum mechanics to outperform today's computers.

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