Scientists stop light completely for a record-breaking MINUTE by trapping it inside a crystal

Scientists in Germany have succeeded in stopping light – the fastest thing in the universe – for a whole minute, smashing earlier records.

Crystal clear: scientists found they could trap light inside a crystal for up to sixty seconds

Researchers at Darmstadt Technical University achieved the remarkable feat by trapping it in a crystal.

In a paper published this month in the journal Physical Review Letters, the scientists explained how they stopped the light using a technique called electromagnetically induced transparency.

At full pelt, light would normally travel about 11 million miles in one minute – equivalent to more than 20 round trips to the moon.

‘One minute is extremely, extremely long,’ Thomas Krauss, Professor of optoelectronics at the University of St Andrews, UK, commented to the New Scientist. ‘This is indeed a major milestone.’

The physicists, Professor Thomas Halfmann, Christian Hubrich and PhD student Georg Heinze, also used the same technique to store and then retrieve an image consisting of three stripes. ‘We showed you can imprint complex information on your light beam,’ said researcher Georg Heinze.

The results may further light-based research and could make it possible to store data within beams of light, which could then be sent over long distances. It could also give experts clues on accelerating light beyond the universal speed limit.

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