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Optical Computer Made From Frozen Light

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the now-they-need-to-work-on-sabers dept.

Supercomputing 441

neutron_p writes "Scientists at Harvard University have shown how ultra-cold atoms can be used to freeze and control light to form the "core" - or central processing unit - of an optical computer. Optical computers would transport information ten times faster than traditional electronic devices, smashing the intrinsic speed limit of silicon technology. This new research could be a major breakthrough in the quest to create super-fast computers that use light instead of electrons to process information. Professor Lene Hau is one of the world's foremost authorities on "slow light". Her research group became famous for slowing down light, which normally travels at 186,000 miles per second, to less than the speed of a bicycle."

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Moore's law strikes again (5, Funny)

SIGALRM (784769) | more than 9 years ago | (#12233662)

ultra-cold atoms can be used to freeze and control light
Crap, and I just bought a new water-cooled chassis with 6 fans and alot of cool neon light tubes...

Where do I get one of these? No, I want it now :)

Re:Moore's law strikes again (2, Funny)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 9 years ago | (#12233717)

"and alot of cool neon light tubes..."

...aren't you afraid that the neon light will screw up the new CPU?

/P

hmm (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12233733)

thats about as slow as Zonk(/, submitter)s brain then!

Re:Moore's law strikes again (1)

Steve Embalmer (783552) | more than 9 years ago | (#12233738)

Lol... Yeah, that would really juice up 3D gaming wouldn't it? Hmm imagine a cool-atom Nvidia chipset revving up Q3, baby. I want one too!!

Re:Moore's law strikes again (5, Funny)

antic (29198) | more than 9 years ago | (#12233898)


For those looking for a better reference of the measure mentioned, Speed of a Bicycle is in between Mum Falling Down the Stairs, and Cat Jumping Out of the Bath.

Slashdot: News for Nerds, Physics for the Vague.

If you overclock it too much... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12233676)

...you will void your warranty and may suffer a severe sunburn.

I am a skeptic (5, Insightful)

Flywheels of Fire (836557) | more than 9 years ago | (#12233679)

Most of the positive fanatics [mithuro.com] write lots of papers; those who think it's not going anywhere (like me) don't. There are sound physical reasons to be skeptical, in my mind:

1) Wavelengths are too big: 1 micron is now a large number, and optics doesn't work much smaller than this.

2) There are no good nonlinearities. Anyone can make a linear OR gate optically, but to function as an effective digital technology you need nonlinearity and level restoration. This is missing in pure optical systems, except at very high power levels. The high power levels imply low density. There are some optical gates which process data in "femtoseconds," but ask them how long it takes to get to the next gate. Maybe someday someone will invent a great, low power, fast, optically nonlinear material. Don't invest in it yet.

3) The serious workers are now mostly working in combined electronic/optical modes. The speeds here are limited by the gate speeds of the electronics, just like normal computers. You have to then ask if optics is a good (cost effective, space efficient, low power...) replacement for wire. Ultimately, the answer is probably yes, but there's an awful lot of work to do before that's true (for the distances of a few centimeters in high density computers, that is).

Thank you, The Annoying Randi (tm) (2, Insightful)

absurdist (758409) | more than 9 years ago | (#12233929)

Personally, I'm very happy that there are people out there without your rigidly defined definitions of what's impossible and what's not.

While this may not work (and I emphasize may, isn't it just a wee bit early to pronounce it impossible, implausible, or impractical?

Re:Thank you, The Annoying Randi (tm) (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12234026)

Typical slashdot, can't admit that someone might be better educated in an advanced field.
Guess what? there are experts in a lot of things, and the vast majority of them, AREN'T YOU.

Re:I am a skeptic (4, Insightful)

OneOver137 (674481) | more than 9 years ago | (#12233956)

1) Wavelengths are too big: 1 micron is now a large number, and optics doesn't work much smaller than this.

Please clarify what you mean here. 1 micron is in the IR, and optical laws work just fine down to fractions of an Angstrom as in Bragg diffraction and scattering of solids.

Re:I am a skeptic (5, Informative)

karvind (833059) | more than 9 years ago | (#12233974)

Wavelengths are too big: 1 micron is now a large number, and optics doesn't work much smaller than this

I am not sure what you meant by this. Modern photolithography (used in production) has optics which works well at the 193nm wavelength. EUV which is lot more complicated has optics which works all the way to 13nm wavelength.

The speeds here are limited by the gate speeds of the electronics, just like normal computers.

I think you meant interconnect delay and not switching speed of a transistor. State of the art and next generation transistors can switch in a fraction of a picosecond. On the other hand interconnects don't scale well and are the bottleneck.

Optical interconnects can break even for clock distribution were skew & crosstalk are important and the network has lot of capacitive load. That, in my opinion, will be the first place where optics will enter into microprocessors.

Re:I am a skeptic (5, Insightful)

wwest4 (183559) | more than 9 years ago | (#12234020)

> those who think it's not going anywhere (like me) don't [write papers].
> There are sound physical reasons to be skeptical, in my mind:

No disrespect intended, but... having doubts is a lousy reason to be discouraged from research into this, or any, field. The reality is exactly the reverse: skepticism is a really good motivation to go and validate your assertions, instead of just keeping them unproven in your mind.

First Post! (-1, Troll)

paradizelost (689394) | more than 9 years ago | (#12233680)

This would be cool though.

Cold Matters when it comes to Overclocking ... (4, Informative)

Hulkster (722642) | more than 9 years ago | (#12233686)

I guess all those guys using liquid water cooling (and even the folks using liquid Nitrogen) just got one-upped ... will we start seeing benchmarks using liquid Helium cooling?

BTW, for those interested, here's a direct link to the "Light at Bicycle Speed ... and Slower Yet!" presentation [harvard.edu] - I was travelling about that speed in my coldest car during a Colorado snowstorm. [komar.org]

Re:Cold Matters when it comes to Overclocking ... (2, Insightful)

Y2 (733949) | more than 9 years ago | (#12233721)

I guess all those guys using liquid water cooling (and even the folks using liquid Nitrogen) just got one-upped

Try running a standard LED in liquid nitrogen once. It gets seriously brighter.

But it won't have the same effect on your friends.

Sounds like it's made of ice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12233687)

Hope it doesn't melt

nature abhors a vacuum unless it's a dirt devil (4, Funny)

Leontes (653331) | more than 9 years ago | (#12233688)

e=mc^2 except where c is like slower and fuck, headache.

Re:nature abhors a vacuum unless it's a dirt devil (3, Funny)

MalaclypseTheYounger (726934) | more than 9 years ago | (#12233742)

In other news, electricity is being generated from Albert Einstein's coffin as he spins in his grave...

Re:nature abhors a vacuum unless it's a dirt devil (5, Informative)

FhnuZoag (875558) | more than 9 years ago | (#12234034)

It's not the same.

The c in E=mc^2 (or E^2 = M^2c^4 + p^2c^2) refers to an intrinsic property of spacetime. Bose Einstein Condensates and so on don't really alter that. One way to think about it is to stop with the 'slowing down light thing', and instead conceive it as the BEC swallowing up photons for a while, storing the information, and then reconstructing a new photon which is exactly identical at the end. This is pretty much the same, because in QM, you can't really track anything exactly, and you definitely can't distinguish between objects with the same properties.

Quick Reflection on a Slow Mirror (4, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#12233693)

Imagine trying to harness today's 3GHz CPUs with 1930s lab bench equipment. Digital electronics could have seemed another universe, out of reach in a universe of alternate physics "beyond radio". If photonic computation is within reach at artifically lowered speeds, we might be just about to cross the watershed, like going from transistor to ENIAC.

Re:Quick Reflection on a Slow Mirror (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12234046)

What, you mean backwards in time, braniac?

ENIAC: 1946
Transistor: 1947

May I be the first to say... (-1, Redundant)

Kimos (859729) | more than 9 years ago | (#12233695)

That I, for one, welcome our new frozen-light overlords!

Re:May I be the first to say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12234000)

Who the fuck keeps modding this stupid crap up? Jesus, people, the reference has never been funny.

Famous for writing IE? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12233696)

Her research group became famous for slowing down light, which normally travels at 186,000 miles per second, to less than the speed of a bicycle."

Ah, so she worked on IE.

Re:Famous for writing IE? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12233809)

Ha ha ha!

Your lame anti-M$ troll would be remotely funny if it had even the slightest correlation with reality. You know - IE being one of the fastest browsers around really doesn't support your case.

Fucktard.

Re:Famous for writing IE? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12233871)

Yeah really. I came here hoping for some insightful remarks/explanations from physiscists and others who are more scientifically involved than I am. All I got was a lame attempt at a joke.

Real good stuff, Slashdot.

depends on who is riding the bicycle (5, Funny)

buddhahat (410161) | more than 9 years ago | (#12233697)

became famous for slowing down light, which normally travels at 186,000 miles per second, to less than the speed of a bicycle.

ah yes, the Speed of a Bicycle (SoaB) metric for slow light.

Re:depends on who is riding the bicycle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12233858)

Not to be confused with the SoaT (speed of a tricycle), SoaU (speed of a unicycle), SoaBRBaP (speed of a bicycle ridden by a panda (those wacky Chinese)), and SoaSD (speed of a Slashdot duplicate).

Incidentally, SoaSD is the fastest of them all.

Re:depends on who is riding the bicycle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12233934)

How many football fields per second is that?

Re:depends on who is riding the bicycle (1)

Aztechian (804348) | more than 9 years ago | (#12233996)

Who's bicycle? I can't handle these approximations, I need names...

The best thing about frozen light (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12233700)

The best thing about frozen light is that you can put it in your freezer, so that when there's a blackout, it will thaw and then you'll have light.

errrmmmm... (2, Interesting)

shades66 (571498) | more than 9 years ago | (#12233702)

>to less than the speed of a bicycle.

So is that
1) A Bicycle with a jet engine strapped to it?
2) A Bicycle going up a hill with an 80 year old man on it?
3) A Bicycle being dropped off a building/cliff
4) A Bicycle being raced?
5) other?

Re:errrmmmm... (2, Funny)

magarity (164372) | more than 9 years ago | (#12233764)

We can safely rule out 'A' since velocity can't be negative; any bicycle with just a bare jet engine strapped to it ain't goin' nowhere.

Re:errrmmmm... (4, Funny)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | more than 9 years ago | (#12233831)

and I thought we could safely rule out 'A' because it wasn't one of the given options? ;-)


Re:errrmmmm... (1)

mario64 (573112) | more than 9 years ago | (#12233851)

I didn't see an option A...... 1) A Bicycle with a jet engine strapped to it?

Re:errrmmmm... (1)

Nodar (821035) | more than 9 years ago | (#12233773)

it's actually the speed of a bike carrying 3 library of congresses the length of 2 football fields.

Re:errrmmmm... (1)

brontus3927 (865730) | more than 9 years ago | (#12233927)

The speed of a bicycle going about 12 mph, IIRC. I remember reading about the experiement in high school, although SoB's weren't used as a unit of velocity measurement back then.

Also the speed of light is 3E8 km/s in a vacuum. It travels slower through matter. The denser the matter, the slower the speed of light. In that experiment, light was shined through a supercooled gel, and took a length of time to travel across so great that it meant light had traveled at a velocity of ~12 mph

Re:errrmmmm... (1)

jonaric (865150) | more than 9 years ago | (#12234001)

The speed of a bicycle is one of the first constants known to physics: B = 12.76 Km/H

StopLight (0)

Fox_1 (128616) | more than 9 years ago | (#12233707)

I always knew that StopLights were a binary system, Green go,
Yellow go faster.
Never figured out that red one, maybe it's just a fancy case mod.
Freaky, someone I dated 10 years ago is stopping light, well her legs could stop traffic, so I guess she's taken it to the next level.

Re:StopLight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12233770)

Thank You. Thank You. Thanks everyone. I'll be in town all week. Try the Tuna Wiggle.

ultra-cold atoms (1)

radarsat1 (786772) | more than 9 years ago | (#12233709)

ultra-cold atoms

crap... what kind of a cooling system will this require?

hm.. i wonder what frozen light looks like... well, i suppose you can't see it.

Re:ultra-cold atoms (1)

eatmywake (858118) | more than 9 years ago | (#12233784)

hmmm, i wonder what frozen lightpops taste like ;)

Re:ultra-cold atoms (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12233882)

Heh, for once, calling the flavors "red", "green" and "puple" might actually make sense.

Re:ultra-cold atoms (1)

markild (862998) | more than 9 years ago | (#12233933)

"frozen light", "optical computer", "ultra-cold atoms", "slow light". Are they just stealing fancy words for old things from star-trek? "captain we don't have the power" "no problem. we'll just fazer out those ultra-cold atoms with a frozen light. Should be a walk in the park"

Oooh goody (1)

SunFan (845761) | more than 9 years ago | (#12233716)


I can finally replace the broken isolinear chip in my time machine!

Electrical Enegery (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12233735)

Freezing light? Soon we will be able to freeze electrical energy as well. I can't believe that.

Means nothing (3, Funny)

brontus3927 (865730) | more than 9 years ago | (#12233737)

And this means absolutely nothing to the non-supercomputer world. Light doesn't slow itself down for free. Freezing light for this proccess likely takes the expenditure equal to the GDP of a small country. At best, in the next 50 years there will be 2 frozen light optiocal supercomputers

Re:Means nothing (1)

powerlord (28156) | more than 9 years ago | (#12233969)

Not to mention the non-impact that this will have on the portable computing industry, even assuming the technology can be shrunk, until the acceptance of better battery units.

I'm pretty sure... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12233750)

that a Beowolf cluster of these would be pretty fantastic.

Re:I'm pretty sure... (2, Funny)

buddhahat (410161) | more than 9 years ago | (#12233775)

Imagine a Beowolf Cluster of bicycles!

Re:I'm pretty sure... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12233957)

Imagine a Beowolf Cluster of bicycles!

Don't they already do something like that in France?!

Lucky bastard (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12233759)

My story got rejected for yours !!! :( Oh boy .. I even submitted before you.

TFA - has popups (1, Informative)

brontus3927 (865730) | more than 9 years ago | (#12233766)

Site has popups, so here's the text of the article Scientists learn to process information with 'frozen light'

Scientists at Harvard University have shown how ultra-cold atoms can be used to freeze and control light to form the "core" - or central processing unit - of an optical computer. Optical computers would transport information ten times faster than traditional electronic devices, smashing the intrinsic speed limit of silicon technology.

Striking research and developments

News archive

This new research could be a major breakthrough in the quest to create super-fast computers that use light instead of electrons to process information. Professor Lene Hau is one of the world's foremost authorities on "slow light". Her research group became famous for slowing down light, which normally travels at 186,000 miles per second, to less than the speed of a bicycle.

Using the same apparatus, which contains a cloud of ultra-cold sodium atoms, they have even managed to freeze light altogether. Professor Hau says this could have applications in memory storage for a future generation of optical computers.

But Professor Hau's most recent research addresses the issue of optical computers head-on. She has calculated that ultra-cold atoms known as Bose-Einstein condensates (BECs) can be used to perform "controlled coherent processing" with light. In ordinary matter, the amplitude and phase of a light pulse would be smeared out, and any information content would be destroyed. Hau's work on slow light, however, has proved experimentally that these attributes can be preserved in a BEC. Such a device might one day become the CPU of an optical computer.

Traditional electronic computers are advancing ever closer to their theoretical limits for size and speed. Some scientists believe that optical computing will one day unleash a new revolution in smaller and faster computers.

Professor Lene Hau is Gordon McKay Professor of Applied Physics & Professor of Physics at Harvard University.

Re:TFA - has popups (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12233837)

Site has popups

How would you know?

Re:TFA - has popups (1)

i_should_be_working (720372) | more than 9 years ago | (#12233978)

As usual, the press extrapolates and exagerates. This stuff is very interesting, and deserves to be talked about. But not because it's connected to the advance of quantum computers.

Quantum computers, when they exist, will be good for several things: factoring large numbers, search algorithms, and simulating other quantum systems and maybe other things related. These are important things, but not what most people think of when they think of a computer.

This research is interesting because it's progress in understanding light matter interactions and quantum mechanics in general.

Disaster scenarios of the future... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12233769)

Bob: Mmmmm! This popsicle sure is good and tasty on a hot day like today.

Beth: OMG! That's no popsicle, that's our hard drive! You've just eaten all of my MP3s!

TDz.

Re:Disaster scenarios of the future... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12233836)

OMG that is so unfunny! You are so hilariously unfunny that I shat myself thinking about it. Now I'm sitting in a pile of my poop, wishing that you weren't so unfunny.

Asshat turdular braindud.

Re:Disaster scenarios of the future... (1)

Datamonstar (845886) | more than 9 years ago | (#12233931)

Better than taking a bit outta someon's porn collection... yech!

Tech News Units Of Measure (2, Funny)

TheFlyingGoat (161967) | more than 9 years ago | (#12233771)

I propose that "speed of a bicycle" be adopted as the standard measure of velocity in technical articles. Units already included in the standard are "Libraries of Congress" for data storage requirements and "Size of a Volkswagon" for physical size measurements.

Re:Tech News Units Of Measure (4, Funny)

Stormcrow309 (590240) | more than 9 years ago | (#12233796)

We need a conversion factor to BSUs (Bull Shit Units) for all of these standards.

Re:Tech News Units Of Measure (4, Funny)

NoMoreNicksLeft (516230) | more than 9 years ago | (#12233869)

Metric BSUs or standard BSUs?

Re:Tech News Units Of Measure (1)

Rui Lopes (599077) | more than 9 years ago | (#12234036)

Metric IS standard.

Re:Tech News Units Of Measure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12233867)

Gazing into the future I predict that:
"The speed of a bicycle should be enough for anyone" ...you can quote me on that

Re:Tech News Units Of Measure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12233883)

"Size of a Volkswagon" for physical size measurements.

Get with the programme! We're using cfbs now (Centi-football-fields).

In Soviet Russia... (3, Funny)

Pugflop (797868) | more than 9 years ago | (#12233793)

...the light freezes you!

Will it at least make and keep my vodka cold, comrade?

Aw shit... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12233806)

Cue the "Real Genius" jokes...

In the immortal words of Socrates... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12233865)

"I drank what?"

Awesome (4, Funny)

back@slash (176564) | more than 9 years ago | (#12233807)

Now all we need is Advanced Military Algoritms and Pre-Sentient Algorithms until we achieve Fusion Power and our units become twice as strong as our enemy's units.

Intellectual Integrity and Cyberethics may pose a problem however.

Telecosmic (1, Funny)

glenrm (640773) | more than 9 years ago | (#12233829)

And we will all be overrun with Telecosmic cathedrals of light, blah, blah, blah...

lightsicle? (1)

justforaday (560408) | more than 9 years ago | (#12233830)

Does this mean that I'll be able to go buy a lightsicle soon?

Re:lightsicle? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12233962)

No no, it's called a lightcycle [imdb.com] you idiot!

Re:lightsicle? (1)

justforaday (560408) | more than 9 years ago | (#12233994)

Yeah, but that sounds like it wouldn't be nearly as tasty...

Re:lightsicle? (1)

coolGuyZak (844482) | more than 9 years ago | (#12234008)

Hmm.. I see a joke RFC (or the likes) in the making.

Uh, 'Smashing'? (1)

frostfreek (647009) | more than 9 years ago | (#12233843)

... ten times faster than traditional electronic devices, smashing the intrinsic speed limit ...

With the rate that things are advancing, I can no longer classify 10x as 'smashing'. No, smashing is more on the order of 1000x.

On another note, put a decoder on one end of a 'bicyle-speed' light cable, and loop it back to an encoder on the other end... I wonder what sort of data-density you could achieve, with this 'dynamic ram' device?

Speed of Light? (1, Insightful)

Aces and Eights (634102) | more than 9 years ago | (#12233848)

I thought the speed of light was absolute? What am I missing here?

Re:Speed of Light? (1)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 9 years ago | (#12233893)

You're not missing something - you have an excess of something (e.g. bogus facts).

The speed of light varies by the material that it travels in, which accounts for magical things like refraction. Refraction allows us to build lenses. If the speed of light was constant, well it'd be a bitch trying to see.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speed_of_light [wikipedia.org]

Re:Speed of Light? (1)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 9 years ago | (#12233918)

Of course I'm presuming that you're talking about the physical speed of light, rather than c - the measure of the speed of light in a vacuum. In this case the submission and article is talking about the actual speed of light in given conditions.

Re:Speed of Light? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12233930)

That would be speed of light in a vacuum is constant. If you put things in the way, even transparent things, it will slow down inside that material, hence you get things like rainbows from a prism and such, which are caused by the change of speed of the different wavelenghts of light.

Re:Speed of Light? (1)

jimbro2k (800351) | more than 9 years ago | (#12233944)

The speed of light, "c" is a theoretical number, like e, or pi, or the cosmological constant. It probably does not exist in the real world. It is slower in the BECs mentioned in the article, slower in glass or water than in air, and slower in a gravitational field - the reasons for refraction and bending of light beams.

Since a pure vacumn, totally free of gravity may not (probably CANNOT) exist, real light never travels at c, always at some lower value.

Re:Speed of Light? (1)

myukew (823565) | more than 9 years ago | (#12233983)

so, if pi doesn't exist, what is the ratio between a circle's diameter and its extent?

Re:Speed of Light? (1)

myukew (823565) | more than 9 years ago | (#12233960)

the speed of light in the vakuum is the maximum speed you (given you had no mass) could possibly have. slowing light down is not a problem if you have the right medium. only faster-than-light is impossible (if einstein was right).

Changing world of Physics (1, Interesting)

Blitzenn (554788) | more than 9 years ago | (#12233997)

We have learned a lot over the past decade or two. Much of what we have learned flies in the face of the established physics of old.

The speed of light is now known to be controllable. One major university laboratory recently was able to actually stop light from moving. That kind of blows the constant out of the water. Kind of makes the statement that I can't travel faster than the speed of light mute too. Einstien had it right though, it's all relative (in very simple terms). We also now know for a fact that instantanious travel is physically possible via quantum entanglement, across any distance. Proven in a lab. Even more hard to grasp concepts have even been proven recently, such as the concept of a single object existing in two different places at the same time. Also proven in a lab. All of these have corresponding articles on Slashdot and are easily tracked down, so I won't waste my time providing the links. The next couple of decades had ought to be pretty exciting for those that pursue new physics in these areas.

"The world is not what it seems, but is what it is. ~ Brian King"

Free lunch (1)

Stibidor (874526) | more than 9 years ago | (#12233855)

My ray tracer will rule! Bring on the free lunch.

Does this mean.... (4, Funny)

Datamonstar (845886) | more than 9 years ago | (#12233868)

I'll finally get that lightsaber I've been wanting?

Re:Does this mean.... (1)

Kyrene (624175) | more than 9 years ago | (#12234005)

Yes, but I really don't want to know what a BSOD would look like on it. ^_^

Can a physics geek explain how you "freeze" light? (5, Interesting)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 9 years ago | (#12233873)

Obviously it's not simply a temperature thing, since most of space is absolute zero, and I can see stars and suns and stuff. So it's not freezing light as in freezing water.

So how exactly do you stop photons from moving? How does this affect relativity (e=mc^2)? How does this affect our perception of the universe - ie; if the light from the star that we think is 10,000 light years away is only moving 20mph or so, it could really be millions of light years away?

Does like, time slow down? My heads spinning. Freeze sounds like the wrong word.

Speed of light (3, Insightful)

dreadknought (324674) | more than 9 years ago | (#12233879)

The speed of light is _only_ 186,000 mi/sec when traveling through a vacuum. Light travels at slower speeds through all other mediums (i.e. earth's atmosphere, glass, a super-cooled diamond, etc)

well.... (1)

Goeland86 (741690) | more than 9 years ago | (#12233885)

at least we know we won't have to worry about cooling anything down in our computers. In fact, given the temps in those "frozen atoms" we may need heaters for the room in which that thing is sitting... Not to mention that you can't have any more plexiglas on your tower, or you'll probably lose all your processing power in tanning power!
Damn, geeks, you're out of luck...

Physorg is getting mellow? (1)

argent (18001) | more than 9 years ago | (#12233886)

This is the first Physorg article that I've seen listed in /. that actually provides an offsite link for the story! Are they getting mellow, or did they just make a mistake and will go back to their usual "tarpit" methods?

Optical computing = slow computing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12233887)

These reports about how an optical computer will be 10X faster than electrical computers are based on the observation that electricity travels at about warp 0.1 in typical semiconductors and assume that an optical computer will utilize photons traveling at warp 1. But if optical technology requires slowing photons down to the speed of a bicycle, my 30-year old HP-35 calculator will computer faster than an optical computer.

YIC (1, Funny)

kokoloko (836827) | more than 9 years ago | (#12233902)

became famous for slowing down light, which normally travels at 186,000 miles per second, to less than the speed of a bicycle.

My bicycle travels at the speed of light, you insensitive clod!

Re:YIC (1)

Jolly_Fat_Man (876059) | more than 9 years ago | (#12234015)

Does this mean that my Palm wil, in years to come need the sun to work?
or maybe a fridge?
How big will the batteries be?
Will i need gloves?

How cold is it when u freeze light? Cold as Hell?

Light Speed isn't absolute... A portuguese man discored that when the Big-Bang ocurred the speed of light had many zeros in front of the normal number...

How do u freeze light? Who makes that fridge? Does it make ice cubes?

Velocity of propagation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12233938)

Light and electricity travel at about the same speed. The only way to send information faster is to use more complicated modulation. You can use symbols that represent several bits (QAM) or some kind of frequency division multiplexing. In any event you are stuck with some kind of overhead.

As far as operations within a CPU go, I don't see any particular advantage for light over electricity in terms of speed of propagation.

Between chips, on the other hand, I think something like fiber may be the way to go. Designing high speed boards is a pain. Fiber doesn't suffer from a lot of things that electrical signals do. Moving data around on a board with an 'optical' layer makes a lot of sense.

Uh.... (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 9 years ago | (#12233965)

wasn't photon computing's purpose to use the speed of light to do computations? What use is to have light for the processing, if it's slower than the electrons we currently use?

And with all this freezer stuff, I doubt it'll have any practical use except for one or two super-secret govt computers that need millions of dollars in budget to do some crypto-crunching stuff.

Cooooold (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12233976)

You ahhhh dont believe this cold fusion mumbo jumbo do ya?

No alls we need (1)

fsterman (519061) | more than 9 years ago | (#12233982)

Is to shrink down those huge coolers to fit into this laptop, and now I will have to deal with freazing lap instead of burning. Shit.

Not Possible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12233995)

Moore's http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/04/13/141622 4&tid=118&tid=126 [slashdot.org] revised law clearly states that technology should no longer continue to advance. This sort of thing will keep feeding technological expansion for years. Therefore, it is bogus.

Light Sabers & Popsicles (1)

rezac (733345) | more than 9 years ago | (#12233998)

I just patented the multicolored sugar infused frozen light devise.

It is the light saber you can lick.

And you thought Moore's Law was dead? (1)

patmandu (247443) | more than 9 years ago | (#12234002)

Well, it was coughing up blood last night...

No exaggeration? (1)

Anonymous Codger (96717) | more than 9 years ago | (#12234033)

So these guys [litespeed.com] aren't exaggerating?
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