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Best Common Folk Materials Slowing Light Down?

  1. Feb 5, 2005 #1
    I'm aware that an Einstein-Bose Condensate can be made to slow EM energies to slow speeds but I really don't have the $$$ nor time to make a BEC. I also wouldn't be able to get the BEC shape in any form I need either. Therefore, what materials exist that can help me slow down some photons?

    I know that diamond and quartz have relatively high refractive indexes, but am wondering if there are materials with indexes as high as 3.5?

    I would trade a lower refractive index for the ability to transfer a large range of energies the same, ie - like diamond. Are there any polymers that can do what I am looking for?

  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 5, 2005 #2
    Well I'm off topic but are the photons really slowed? they still go at the speed of light... they just get absorbed by the material & the re-immited by the material & they then appear slower? am I right ? anyways I don't any materials with higher refractive index then diamonds but what do I know...
  4. Feb 5, 2005 #3


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    There are ferroelectric materials with index of refraction in the 100's. The MgCaTi compound that I deal with has index of refraction of 20.

  5. Feb 8, 2005 #4
    Thats right logik, photons r just repeatedly absorbed and emitted by matter. For my case this is fine; I'm simple try to stuff as many photons n a space per unit time as possible.

    ZapperZ, thanks for the leads!
  6. Feb 8, 2005 #5
    Wow, I wish I had seen this thread earlier. The whole point of my PhD thesis was finding a simple material that you could get slow light (group indices ~10^6). One of the simplest is ruby. Here's a link to the group where I did my graduate work. There are several papers you can download from there. Send me a PM if you have any trouble and I can forward copies to you. I can even send you my thesis (pdf) if you want.

    BTW, there is nothing special about a BEC in the creation of huge group velocities. Using the same physics, people have created slow light in hot rubidium vapor and other systems.
  7. Feb 8, 2005 #6
    Silicon has about that refractive index for some wavelengths. It surely is amongst the cheapest interesting materials too.
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