Tags: speed | light | slowed down

Speed of Light Slowed Down: Scientists Manipulate Light Particles

By    |   Friday, 23 Jan 2015 03:18 PM

Scottish scientists were recently able to slow down the speed of light by sending individual light particles, called photons, through a mask that changed their shape.

The researchers from Glasgow and Heriot-Watt universities told the BBC the photons continued to travel at a slower speed even after they left the mask.

R&D Magazine said that while it’s long been accepted that traveling through water or glass would slow light, it was thought that there wasn’t a way to do so when the light was free.

"That mask looks a little bit like a bull's-eye target. And that mask patterns the light beam, and we show that it's the patterning of the light beam that slows it down," Professor Miles Padgett, of Glasgow, told the BBC. "But once that pattern has been imposed — even now the light is no longer in the mask, it's just propagating in free space — the speed is still slow."

Daniel Giovannini, one of the lead authors of the paper, said in a University of Glasgow release: "The delay we’ve introduced to the structured beam is small, measured at several micrometres over a propagation distance of one metre, but it is significant."

Padgett said in the release that further research will be needed.

"The results give us a new way to think about the properties of light and we’re keen to continue exploring the potential of this discovery in future applications," he said. "We expect that the effect will be applicable to any wave theory, so a similar slowing could well be created in sound waves, for example."

The research paper was published in "Science Express."

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Scottish scientists were recently able to slow down the speed of light by sending individual light particles, called photons, through a mask that changed their shape.
speed, light, slowed down
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2015-18-23
Friday, 23 Jan 2015 03:18 PM
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