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DEPARTMENT COLLOQUIUM | Quantum Control of Light and Matter... From the Macroscopic to the Nanoscale Speaker: Lene Hau (Harvard University)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012
4:00 AM
340 West Hall

Speaker: Lene Hau (Harvard University)

Light pulses are slowed to bicycle speed, 15 miles/hour, in clouds of ultra-cold atoms. This is 50 million times lower than the light speed in vacuum. In the process the pulses spatially compress by the same large factor, from 1 km to only 0.02 mm, at which point they fit entirely within the atom cloud and a light pulse can then be completely stopped for many seconds. During the storage time, light could – under normal circumstances – travel back and forth to the Moon several times over. We can take matters further: stop and extinguish a light pulse in one part of space and revive it in a completely different location, thereby generating a new paradigm for control and inter-conversion of light and matter. In our latest experiments we merge cold-atoms physics with nanoscale technology and this novel system demonstrates physics in action in a whole new parameter regime.