Science & Technology
Scientists slow down the speed of light
By T.K. Randall
January 25, 2015 · 56 comments
The speed of light was slowed down over a range of one meter. Image Credit: CC 2.0 Andrew Adams
Physicists in Scotland have slowed down the speed at which light travels through air for the first time.
The speed of light is one of the fundamental constants of physics, yet scientists at the University of Glasgow this week announced that they had successfully discovered a way to slow light down in free space, something that has never been achieved before.
Conventionally light travels at approximately 300 million meters per second and only slows down on a temporary basis when passing through mediums such as water or glass.
Now however physicists have been able to slow light down while it's traveling through the air.
To accomplish this the team sent photons, which are individual particles of light, through a special mask that changes their shape and causes them to slow down.
"That mask looks a little bit like a bull's-eye target," said Prof Miles Padgett. "And that mask patterns the light beam, and we show that it's the patterning of the light beam that slows it down."
Source: BBC News
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