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Scientific breakthrough: Chinese scientists have succeeded in slowing down light

Scientific breakthrough: Chinese scientists have succeeded in slowing down light

Scientists at the Chinese Academy of Sciences recently published research in which they reported on a substance that dangerously slows down light.

19.02.2024 – Physicists from the University of Glasgow came up with an interesting hypothesis years ago: they believed that light could be slowed down. The exciting hypothesis was based on the fact that, in their opinion, it was possible to transmit light from point A to point B in a longer time than under normal conditions. In the scientific journal Nano Letters, the Chinese Academy of Sciences presented a method that appears to be the most effective solution for this purpose so far. Scientists believe that this breakthrough could be useful in the development of optical communications and computer technology.

The wonder of the superficial surface

In space, light travels at a speed of 299,792 kilometers per second. Thanks to this, the distance between the Sun and Earth, which is 150 million kilometers, is covered by light coming from the Sun in 8.3 minutes. – Writes about the topic HVG. But they realized that when the path of light intersects an electromagnetic field, the speed of light decreases. Most transparent materials slow light to some extent, but they also bend as it travels from one medium to another. However, a truly significant slowdown requires special hardware, such as a photonic crystal or supercooled quantum gases.

The new method developed by Chinese researchers is based on electromagnetic induced transparency (EIT), which turns opaque gases in a vacuum into transparent gases. Thus, the laser passes through the gas, but also slows it down in the process. Light and part of the energy are also lost during the process. To reduce this type of loss, a new light-slowing material was created based on some basic principles of phase transition. This became what is called a “supersurface,” meaning that no material with similar properties exists in nature. The 2D surface is made of layers of silicon, and based on measurements, it appears that light can be slowed by more than 10,000 times in this system. However, even before, scientists had not been able to produce such a thing even in a private environment. What makes the study even more exciting is that according to the results, the loss of energy and light was reduced by a fifth compared to the loss seen in other systems.

Thanks to the research, light may become more controllable in the future, and scientists could open doors to new possibilities.

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