Chinese scientists create material that slows down light speed by 10,000 times: Breakthrough for quantum computing and optical communication
It's common knowledge that the speed of light is 186,282 miles per second in a vacuum. However, this speed varies when light travels through different mediums, often slightly slowed down.
Most transparent materials only have a minor effect on the speed of light. To create a large difference, special materials or cooled quantum gases are required.
Chinese scientists have managed to slow down light
Researchers from the University of Guangxi and the Chinese Academy of Sciences have devised an innovative technique that significantly reduces the speed of light up to 10,000 times. Their findings were published in Nano Letters magazine.
The groundbreaking method is based on Electromagnetically Induced Transparency (EIT), which employs tactical laser techniques to manipulate electrons within a gas in a vacuum.
While laser light can pass through this medium, it does so considerably slower. However, the process involves a reduction in both light and energy.
To minimize these losses and enhance the system's efficiency, the scientists incorporated some principles of EIT to control light. They designed a new type of material that can slow light. This material is a kind of metasurface - a synthetic, two-dimensional structure with properties not found in natural materials. These metasurfaces turned out to be superior in storing and distributing energy.
The published research reveals that light can be slowed down by over 10,000 times. The scientists reduced light loss by five times compared to other similar methods.
Chinese researchers make significant breakthrough
This latest research marks an important advancement in controlling light propagation. The efficiency and scalability of the results present promising opportunities for further exploration. The breakthrough could have wide-ranging implications for various technological solutions, from broadband internet to quantum computing.
"We foresee that our work provides a completely new direction for realizing ultra-strong light-matter interactions in nanophotonic chips," the researchers assert in their published article.