Skip navigation
† A.Using Semi-Conductors to Set a Speed Limit on Light

Narrator: This is Science Today. In an effort to speed up optical network communications, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley have created a brake system of sorts to slow light down. Electrical engineer and computer scientist Connie Chang-Hasnain, led a team that used thin layers of semiconductors to slow the speed at which a laser pulse travels along a light wave to about six miles per second.

Chang-Hasnain: So we can control the speed Ė itís like your brake pedal in your car. You can control the speed gradually or very abruptly, so that the information can travel at desirable pattern, such that it doesnít collapse or collide with another signal pulse.

Narrator: This experimental demonstration may one day lead to unbelievably high speed connections.

Chang-Hasnain: To the consumer it means that you can probably download a two hour long feature film in less than a second, maybe one tenth of a second or so.

Narrator: For Science Today, Iím Larissa Branin.