Slow light: From basics to future prospects


Journal Article

Motivated by the need for optically controllable pulse delays for applications such as optical buffering, data synchronization, optical memory and signal processing, researchers sought to control the speed of a pulse light from its vacuum speed. A revolution in the field came when researchers at Stanford University in California realized that the slow-light effect can be preserved while the effects of absortion are simultaneously canceled using a coherent optical effect occurring in a gas of atoms that have three energy levels. Although this result was impressive, it indicated that slow light based on electromagnetically induced transparency requires that the material medium be a low-density atomic vapor or an impurity-doped solid maintained at low temperature. A recent experiment performed at the University of Rochester in New York established that slow light based on coherent population oscillations could be observed with the use of ruby. A more recent research targeted the development of materials with a much faster population recovery. For instance, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, and Texas A&M UNiversity in College Station observed slow light with a modulation bandwidth as large as 2.8 GHz in a semicondictor laser amplifier. Controllable slow-light delays due to stimulated Brillouin scattering in conventional telecommunication fibers were realized independently by two teams, one from Spain and another from the US.

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Gauthier, DJ; Gaeta, AL; Boyd, RW

Published Date

  • March 1, 2006

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 40 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 44 - 50

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0731-1230

Citation Source

  • Scopus