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You can slow the group velocity of light. Can you slow electricity?

  1. Mar 30, 2012 #1
    There are various methods to slow and even stop visible light. Most of these methods appear to be slowing the group velocity of light, not the phase velocity.

    Can you slow the velocity of propagation of electricity? I have seen estimates that electricity, in a wire, propagates at 2/3 the speed of light. The drift velocity of electrons in the wire may be one meter an hour, for DC current, but I am interested in the propagation speed of the electricity instead.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 30, 2012 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    The velocity of the electromagnetic (EM) wave propagating down a transmission line cable depends on the dielectric constant of the insulator materials used in the cable. That's where you can see numbers like v = (2/3) c and similar.
  4. Mar 30, 2012 #3
    I have seen research showing metamaterials working on very-low-frequency electromagnetic waves, such as 60 hertz, and was wondering if metamaterials or other methods could be used to greatly slow electricity, without causing excessive resistance losses.

    Light can be slowed down to less than one kilometer per second. Could electricity?
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