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I Favorite ways to trap photons or slow down light

  1. May 12, 2017 #1
    What are currently the best cost-effective ways to temporarily store a photon and preserve its phase? Or, at least, to slow down light? A fiber optic cable is definitely cost-effective for the latter, but not practical for intervals longer than 1µs due to absorption losses and length.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 12, 2017 #2
    My favorite way would be a gravity well, but that would neither be cost-effective or practical. I do believe that some gasses will slow photons down a bit. I just do not remember where I read or saw the experiment at. Come to think of it I think light will slow in any transparent or translucent medium. I'm thinking that it also depends on the density and temp of the medium as well.
  4. May 12, 2017 #3


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  5. May 13, 2017 #4
    Thank you, ZapperZ, for the link. The linked article mentions that different teams cooled their gas-based light traps to between 1 and 90 K.

    https://physics.aps.org/featured-article-pdf/10.1103/PhysRevLett.111.033601 reports an experiment that trapped laser pulses for tens of seconds (!) in a rare-earth-ion-doped crystal, but I believe they also had to cool the crystal to cryogenic temperatures.

    I'm wondering if there are any light traps that would be practical at room temperatures.
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