Friday, December 14, 2007

Stored Light in an Optical Fiber via Stimulated Brillouin Scattering

A new paper appearing in this week's Science[1] advances the possible practical application of storing light pulses and using it at later. This time, light pulses in an optical fiber are converted to slow-moving vibrations in the fiber itself, before converting it back into light. The efficiency of the conversion depends only on the lifetime of the acoustic vibration.

What is different than the earlier light-storing scheme done by Lene Hau is that this technique doesn't employ purely quantum-mechanical phenomena and thus, is more robust. it can't do some of the exotic gymnastics that the other earlier techniques can do, but at the same time, it is relatively easy to implement, using standard equipment already available and works at room temperature. Further, it can work on any frequency of light that is transparent to the fiber, whereas the atomic/resonator technique of storing light so far is restricted to only one particular frequency.

A review of this work can be found here (link may be open without restrictions only for a limited time).


[1] Z. Zhu et al, Science v.318, p.1748 (2007).

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