Mar 3, 2022

Physics: Speed of Light Could Be Dropped to Zero Using Crystals

Posted by in categories: mathematics, particle physics

In a vacuum like space, the speed of light is just over 186,280 miles per second. Scientists have now shown it’s possible to slow it down to zero miles per second without sacrificing its brightness, regardless of its frequency or bandwidth.

A team of researchers from the Israel Institute of Technology and the Institute of Pure and Applied Mathematics in Brazil discovered a method of theoretically bringing the speed of light to a halt by capitalizing on “exceptional points”—coordinates at which two separate light emissions reach each other and merge into a single one, according to Phys.org. A paper describing the research was published in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.

The first involves aiming a laser into a cloud of ultracold sodium atoms, the researchers wrote in their paper. When the laser is abruptly switched off, a slow pulse of light is imprinted onto the atoms, essentially bringing the light to a halt by absorbing it; the imprinted shape can then be converted back into a photon. But it’s the second method that allowed the researchers to make their breakthrough.

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