First observation of ultraslow group velocity of light in a solid

A. Turukhin, V. S. Sudarshanam, M. S. Shahriar, J. A. Musser, P. R. Hemmer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

3 Scopus citations


Summary form only given. Electromagnetically induced transparency (EIT) has been the subject of many experimental and theoretical studies over recent years. Most recently, substantial experimental and theoretical work in this area has been focused on the use of EIT to give ultraslow group velocities for light in both ultracold atomic gas and hot atomic vapors. Much of this interest is based on the fact that slowing the group velocity of a laser pulse down to the speed of sound in the same material can produce strong coupling between acoustic waves and the electromagnetic field. It has been suggested that a giant nonlinearity obtained by this method might be utilized for efficient multi-wave mixing and quantum nondemolition measurements. Slow light might also allow a very efficient nonlinear interaction between laser pulses of extremely low (down to a single photon) energies. Here, we report the first direct observation of an ultraslow group velocity of light down to 45 m/s in a solid, well below the speed of sound in the medium. This group velocity is fundamentally limited only by the inhomogeneous broadening of the ground state transition. At low coupling beam intensities, the fraction of centers that are pumped into the "dark state" increases with coupling laser power, so that the observed group delay is increasing with coupling beam intensity. At higher intensities, power broadening reduces the sharpness of the dispersive feature and the observed group delay decreases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationTechnical Digest - Summaries of Papers Presented at the Quantum Electronics and Laser Science Conference, QELS 2001
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages2
ISBN (Electronic)155752663X, 9781557526632
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001
EventQuantum Electronics and Laser Science Conference, QELS 2001 - Baltimore, United States
Duration: May 6 2001May 11 2001


OtherQuantum Electronics and Laser Science Conference, QELS 2001
CountryUnited States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Radiation

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