Trapping the Light Fantastic
Using a crystal and a rare earth element, researchers trapped laser light for an entire minute.
Light travels up to 186,000 miles per second — a speed so constant it is used to measure space. But in July, scientists reported that they’d brought a beam of light to a halt for a full minute.
Researchers at Germany’s Technical University of Darmstadt shone a laser onto a tiny opaque crystal studded with electrically charged atoms of praseodymium, a rare earth element. The “control beam” changed the crystal’s atomic and optical properties, making it transpare...