Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

 

Light Captured In A Crystal

Light stopped for one second in the crystal shown below. A team of researchers from the Laser Physics Centre at the Australian National University in Canberra succeeded in setting the record for 'stopping' light, increasing the total time by a factor of 1,000.


(Light stopped for one second)

Dr. Matthew Sellars stated that the objective for 'stopping' light is to develop memory for quantum computing. He said:

“Stopping light is not just a neat trick, it is the basis of a quantum memory — a device capable of storing and recalling the quantum states of light."

Here's how its done:

“We use a small silicate crystal doped with a rare-earth element, praseodymium. It is on the praseodymium ions that we store the light pulse.

“When we shine a laser pulse at this crystal, it’s normally absorbed. The light doesn’t get through the crystal. Then we add a second laser beam that turns on the coupling between the nuclear spins and the light. This coupling makes the crystal transparent. So when we now fire the first laser beam at it, it gets through, but the odd thing about it is that it takes a very long time to do so.”

“To store the light in there, we turn the second laser beam off. The signal from the first laser beam is trapped inside the crystal. To get the signal out again, we turn the coupling beam on again. We can now store light for seconds, and potentially quite a bit longer."
(Dr. Matthew Sellars, Laser Physics Centre, in PhysOrg)

The next goal is to stop and store a single photon, creating the first quantum memory.

"And this stopping light, what we're doing is transferring the quantum information which is on the light, or a complete description of the light field.

"We can now store it on the crystal and hold it there for a long time, for seconds and hopefully longer, and then come back basically just flick a switch, and then recall that quantum information and regenerate the light pulse.

"It should be an exact copy of the pulse that we've put in. So rather than using electrons we'll be using photons, we'll be using light pulses to control our computer system."
(Dr. Sellars)

In 1968, science fiction writer Bob Shaw wrote Light of Other Days, a cool story about trapping light in glass and then slowly releasing it over time. This created a "scenedow" for people without a view:

The most important effect, in the eyes of the average individual, was that light took a long time to pass through a sheet of slow glass. A new piece was always jet black because nothing had yet come through, but one could stand the glass beside, say, a woodland lake until the scene emerged, perhaps a year later. If the glass was then removed and installed in a dismal city flat, the flat would—for that year—appear to overlook the woodland lake.
(Read more about slow glass)

For news about other elements of a quantum computer, read The Latest in Quantum Dot Switches. Read more about this story in Light capture may pave the way for more powerful computers and Stopping light in a quantum leap. Thanks to Vik for the tip on this story.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 9/17/2005)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 8 )

Related News Stories - (" Engineering ")

The FLUTE Project - A Huge Liquid Mirror In Space
'It's area, and its consequent light-gathering capacity, was many times greater than any rigid mirror...' - Raymond Z. Gallun, 1934.

'Whisper Mode' ala Blue Thunder Researched At Bristol
'Forest Lawn.' from 'Blue Thunder' 1983.

Moonwalkers AI-Controlled Electric Shoes
Now that's power walking that Hugo Gernsback would have approved.

Electric Catamaran 'Explorer Eco 40m' Has 'Solar Skin'
'On went the electric-yacht faster and still faster.' - John Baker Hopkins, 1885.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Current News

SliceIt! Why Not Teach Robots To Use Knives?
'One building now gushed forth smoke and another stench that was unmistakable.'

NYC/Dublin Portal Fails To Meet 'Guardian Of Forever' Standards
I am the Guardian of Forever.

FLOAT Levitating Train On The Moon ala Clarke
'The low-slung monorail car, straddling its single track, bored through the shadows on a slowly rising course.'

Singapore Writers Push Back On LLM Training
'...we've promised him a generous pension from the royalties.'

SpaceX Intros Extravehicular Activity Suit
'Provision had been made to meet the terrific cold which we knew would be encountered the moment we had passed beyond the atmosphere.'

Athena Smart Security Guard Robot With Face Recognition
'You are who we say you are, Dr. Dakin,' Turner said.'

The FLUTE Project - A Huge Liquid Mirror In Space
'It's area, and its consequent light-gathering capacity, was many times greater than any rigid mirror...'

Robot Preachers Found To Undermine Religious Commitment
'Tell me your torments,' the Padre said, in an elderly voice marked with compassion.

CyberCab - Tesla Renames The Robotaxi
'A cybercab dogged their heels...'

SpaceHopper Microgravity Robot Lands On Its Feet
'...a slender-legged tripod surmounted by a spherical body no larger than a football.'

Brin's 1990 Novel Earth Still Full Of Predictions
'... making the point that their likenesses, every move they made, were being transmitted.'

'Whisper Mode' ala Blue Thunder Researched At Bristol
'Forest Lawn.'

Gaia - Why Stop With Just The Earth?
'But the stars are only atoms in larger space, and in that larger space the star-atoms could combine to form living matter, thinking matter, couldn't they?'

Microsoft VASA-1 Creates Personal Video From A Photo
'...to build up a video picture would require, say, ten million decisions every second. Mike, you're so fast I can't even think about it. But you aren't that fast.'

Splendid View Of Eclipse From Orbit Visualized And Repurposed By Arthur C. Clarke
'The area affected was five hundred kilometres across, and perfectly circular.'

Bespoke Environment Music From AIs
'Call 'em Winter Mute," said the other, making it two words.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.