Freezing LightDecember 12, 2005
Scientists have slowed down and even stopped the fastest substance in the universe: light. As this ScienCentral News video reports, the research may lead to faster, more powerful computers.
Light sets the universe's speed limit. Nothing else moves faster. In just one second, an ordinary ray of light travels a distance equal to seven trips around the earth.
But now, physicist Matt Sellars has found a way to hit the brakes on light, slowing a speeding laser pulse and capturing it inside a crystal.
Sellars and his research team at the Laser Physics Center at the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia, managed to slow the laser light down from 670 million miles an hour to a mere 670 miles an hour - about the speed of a bullet being fired from a gun - before stopping it altogether.
"It's quite a bit faster than you can drive a car, but ... we now have the ability to hold it for seconds at this stage and possibly longer," Sellars explains