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Slow It Down

Photonics Spectra
Sep 1999
For the second time in six months, a team of researchers has succeeded in slowing laser light to a sluggish pace. Michael Kash and his colleagues at Texas A&M University in College Station heated a cloud of rubidium gas to 87 oC, then targeted a beam of light through the gas-filled chamber, causing light to slow to 90 meters per second. Details of the work appear in the June 28 issue of Physical Review Letters.

In February, a team of physicists at the Rowland Institute of Science in Cambridge, Mass., achieved a similar feat, slowing light to 17 meters per second by shining a coupling beam through an ultracold cloud of sodium atoms.

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