Chase the speed of light

Overtake Light On A Bicycle

Everybody knows that speed of light is 3 x 10^6 Km/second (1,86,000 miles/sec.), and no object visible to human eye can ever cross this speed !

But ever thought of overtaking those tiny photons (light particles) on just a bicycle or simply by running on your feet ?

Ofcourse you can never ride a bike or run at that great speed ! But yes you can still cross those light particles, just by bringing down their speed instead of increasing yours :) 

Scientists say that they have slowed light to a dead stop, stored it and then let it go again.

The breakthrough has been achieved by two independent teams of researchers. One was led by Dr Lene Vestergaard Hau, of Harvard University, and the other by Dr Ronald Walsworth, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, both in Cambridge, Massachusetts, US.

Dr Hau surprised the world when she slowed light to about 60 kph (38 mph) by passing it through chilled sodium gas. And one year later, she reported slowing light down to 1.6 kph (one mile an hour) - slower than a slow walk.

When light passes through any denser medium than air like glass/water, it does slow down...but the decreased value is very insignificant.

To stop light altogether, the scientists have utilised a similar but far more powerful effect. The researchers cooled a gas of magnetically trapped sodium atoms to within a few millionths of a degree of absolute zero (-273 deg C). They simply shot a laser through extremely cold sodium atoms, which worked like “optical molasses” to slow the light down.

Uses  other than  making yourself happy by defeating the most impossible thing :-

Slow light could be used to greatly reduce noise, which could allow all types of information to be transmitted more efficiently. Also, optical switches controlled by slow light could cut power requirements a million-fold compared to switches now operating everything from telephone equipment to supercomputers. Slowing light could lead to a more orderly traffic flow in networks. Meanwhile, slow light can be used to build interferometers that are far more sensitive to frequency shift as compared to conventional interferometers. This property can be used to build better, smaller frequency sensor and compact high resolution spectrometers.

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