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December 11th, 2003
Light 'frozen' in its tracks
A pulse of light has been stopped in its tracks with all its photons intact, reveal US physicists. In a vacuum, light travels at the phenomenal speed of 300,000,000 metres per second. Scientists can exploit the way that the electric and magnetic fields in light interact with matter to slow it down. Mikhail Lukin and colleagues at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts managed to stop light without this loss by firing a short burst of red laser light into a gas of hot rubidium atoms.
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