Researchers at the Technische Universität Darmstadt in Germany have managed to stop light for up to one minute inside a crystal and store digitally-encoded information inside it. The technique shatters previous records and could prove very useful in developing faster and highly-efficient quantum and optical computers.
The switch to photonics
Today’s technologies use semiconductor-based processors and storage devices to compute and store data electronically. However, with data being increasingly transmitted in the optical regime (e.g. through fiber optics), switching to all-optical components is appearing more and more like an appealing prospect.
Bringing light to a halt
Scientists have used this technique in previous experiments, but they could only use it to store data for a few millionths of a second. This is because the spin wave is very delicate, subject to energy fluctuations that can corrupt the information it encodes.
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