CANBERRA, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- Quantum computing is a step closer to becoming a reality according to physicists at the Australian National University (ANU), after they successfully stopped light from moving.
Described as something one would normally see in a sci-fi movie such as Star Wars, ANU researcher Jesse Everett said he first discovered a potential to stop light in a computer simulation. The ANU team then used infared lasers in the "real life" experiment, to shine onto ultra-cold atomic vapor -- something which successfully trapped light.
"It's clear that the light is trapped, there are photons circulating around the atoms," Everett said in a statement released on Tuesday.
"The atoms absorbed some of the trapped light, but a substantial proportion of the photons were frozen inside the atomic cloud.
"It's pretty amazing to look at a sci-fi movie and say we actually did something that's a bit like that."
ANU Associate Professor Ben Buchler, said the revolutionary light-trap experiment demonstrated incredible control of a "very complex system."
"Our method allows us to manipulate the interaction of light and atoms with great precision," he said.
Meanwhile co-researcher Dr Geoff Campbell said the development could one day lead to quantum computing, something once thought of as a relative pipe dream in quantum physics.
"Corralling a crowd of photons in a cloud of ultra-cold atoms creates more opportunities for them to interact," Campbell said.
"We're working towards a single photon changing the phase of a second photon. We could use that process to make a quantum logic gate, the building block of a quantum computer."