Crystalized Light Created At Princeton

"Crystalized" light has been created by researchers at Princeton University. This is not shining light through crystal and stopping it. They are actually making light photons into a solid, as part of an effort to develop exotic materials such as room-temperature superconductors.


(Oscillations of photons - an image of crystalized light)
At first, photons in the experiment flow easily between
two superconducting sites, producing the large waves
shown at left. After a time, the scientists cause the light
to “freeze,” trapping the photons in place. Fast oscillations
on the right of the image are evidence of the new trapped
behavior.

The researchers locked together photons so that they became fixed in place. “It’s something that we have never seen before,” said Andrew Houck, an associate professor of electrical engineering and one of the researchers. “This is a new behavior for light.”

The results raise intriguing possibilities for a variety of future materials, and also address questions in condensed matter physics — the fundamental study of matter.

“We are interested in exploring — and ultimately controlling and directing — the flow of energy at the atomic level,” said Hakan Türeci, an assistant professor of electrical engineering and a member of the research team. “The goal is to better understand current materials and processes and to evaluate materials that we cannot yet create.”

The team’s findings [were] reported online Sept. 8 in the journal Physical Review X...

John W. Campbell wrote about a similar idea in his 1930 classic The Black Star Passes; he called it Lux:

“Either that,” returned Arcot, “or proof of an amazing degree of technological advancement. It's only a guess, of course—but I have an idea where this kind of matter exists in the solar system. I think you have already seen it—in the gaseous state. You remember, of course, that the Kaxorians had great reservoirs for storing light-energy in a bound state in their giant planes. They had bound light, light held by the gravitational attraction for itself, after condensing it in their apparatus, but they had what amounted to a gas—gaseous light. Now suppose that someone makes a light condenser even more powerful than the one the Kaxorians used, a condenser that forces the light so close to itself, increases its density, till the photons hold each other permanently, and the substance becomes solid. It will be matter, matter made of light—light matter—and let us call it a metal. You know that ordinary matter is electricity matter, and electricity matter metals conduct electricity readily. Now why shouldn't our 'light matter' metal conduct light? It would be a wonderful substance for windows.”

via Kurzweil AI.

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