Scientists say they have controlled the speed of light in an unprecedented way.
The discovery is an important step in the realization of optical communication: in a study, researchers say they have been able to expand the speed of light by up to 30 times.
Researchers have discovered how to control the speed of light.
Research done at the University of Central Florida, USA, has developed a way to control the speed of light and can increase it up to 30 times, reducing it to half the speed of light and still make a pulse to travel back.
The results were recently published in the journal Nature Communications.
The discovery is an essential step towards more efficient optical communication since the technique could be used to ease data congestion and prevent loss of information.
And with more and more online devices and ever-increasing data transfer speeds, this kind of control will be needed, according to the authors.
Previous attempts to control the speed of light have included the passage of light through various materials to adjust its speed.
However, the new technique allows the rate to be changed for the first time in the open without using any material to accelerate or decelerate.
“This is the first clear demonstration of speed control of a pulsed light in free space,” says Ayman Abouraddy, one of the authors of the study. “The most important thing is that it is done in a simple way, it is repeatable and reliable.”
The researchers were able to develop the technique using a particular device known as a spatial light modulator to mix the spatial and temporal properties of light, which allows them to control their pulse rate.
Combining the two features was critical to the success of the technique.
“We are delighted with these results, and we have high hopes that it will only be the starting point for future research,” says Abouraddy.