Light-Trapping Nanodoughnut Like Slow Glass

Warwickshire physicists have stored exitons in a nanoscale Aharonov-Bohm ring using a combination of magnetic and electric fields. The exiton holds onto its photon, effectively freezing it in place.

Andrea Fischer and Rudolf A. Roemer believe that this accomplishment has significant implications for light-based computing. This is the first time that a photon has been "locked down" for later release.

SF fans remember Bob Shaw's classic 1968 story Light of Other Days, in which he describes a manufactured product with the capacity to trap light and then slowly let it out - slow glass.

A new piece was always jet black because nothing had yet come through, but one could stand the glass beside, say, a woodland lake until the scene emerged, perhaps a year later. If the glass was then removed and installed in a dismal city flat, the flat would—for that year—appear to overlook the woodland lake.,,
(Read more about slow glass)

Update 25-Mar-2012: SF great L. sprague de Camp presented a similar idea in his whimsical 1940 story The Exhalted; see the reference to slow glass rod. End update.

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Read more about this complex development in this artlessly casual article in The Register - Boffins build 'slow glass' light-trapping nanodoughnut or go straight to Exciton Storage in a Nanoscale Aharonov-Bohm Ring with Electric Field Tuning (pdf) in which the authors Andrea M. Fischer, Vivaldo L. Campo Jr., Mikhail E. Portno and Rudolf A. Romer "study analytically the optical properties of a simple model for an electron-hole pair on a ring subjected to perpendicular magnetic flux and in-plane electric field, show how to tune this excitonic system from optically active to optically dark as a function of these external fields and offer a simple mechanism for exciton storage and readout." Thanks to Winchell Chung for the tip on this story.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 3/10/2009)

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