Physicists Freeze Light, Propose Optical CPU

Iceman

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Scientists at Harvard University have discovered how to freeze light, so that it can be used to build an optical computer, theoretically capable of processing information ten times faster than traditional electronics.

The researchers, led by Prof. Lene Hau, has calculated that controlled, coherent processing with light can be performed using ultra-cold atoms known as Bose-Einstein condensates (BECs). Hau outlined her research yesterday at the Physics 2005 conference in Warwick.

Hau has discovered, in her work on slow light, that a BEC can preserve the phase and amplitude of a light pulse. In normal matter, these properties would be smeared out, destroying any information content. If a device can be built that preserves that information, Hau argues, it could be developed into the CPU of an optical computer.
In 2003 Hau's research group slowed light from 186,000 miles per second to around the speed of a bicycle. Later, they froze light altogether, using a cloud of ultra-cold sodium atoms. Dr. Hau argues that frozen light could also have applications for memory storage on optical computers.

As well as frozen light, the group works on other very cold things, including cold atomic beams and superfluidity.

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Comments? Predictions? Free Pizza?
 

Matt

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that is totaly frikin awesome!!!! i want to see that. i wonder if you can actually hold it.

and by the way, you need to place the source of info at the bottom of the post.
 

Corey

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Nice post, anything to do with your name?

-Corey
 

Iceman

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Nah, name is sort of a reference to the movie Top Gun. But I did find this story very interesting :)
 

Iceman

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By the way: As far as looks go: frozen light is probably invisible as it can never reach your eye. Also, they don't freeze the photons, they freeze the wavelengths and phase the light is in.
 

trev

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Well they cant freeze photons as there no shure if they even exist Wave-Partical Duality! But nice idear if they can get it to work! Sounds as good as using glass as a storage device!
 
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