Fast light, slow light and optical precursors: What does it all mean?


Journal Article

Einstein's special theory of relativity concerns the behavior of Maxwell's equations under coordinate transformations and has far-reaching consequences. In his public discussions of the theory, Einstein focuses on the concept of an "event," such as a spark caused by a lightning bolt and on how the event would be observed by people at various locations. Experiments conducted to date concerning how light travels are consistent with the special theory of relativity, although it remains difficult to show this. In some experiments, the pulse shape is such that it is exceedingly difficult to detect the pulse front and, hence, it may appear that the special theory has been violated. In other experiments especially designed to accentuate the pulse front, it has been shown that the information velocity is equal to c within the experimental uncertainties in both fast- and slow-light regimes.

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Gauthier, DJ; Boyd, RW

Published Date

  • January 1, 2007

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 41 / 1

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0731-1230

Citation Source

  • Scopus