From Wired News:
Physicists in Australia have slowed a speeding laser pulse and captured it in a crystal, a feat that could be instrumental in creating quantum computers.
The scientists slowed the laser light pulse from 300,000 kilometers per second to just several hundred meters per second, allowing them to capture the pulse for about a second.
The accomplishment marks a new world record, but the scientists are more thrilled that they were able to store and recall light, an important step toward quantum computing.
“What we’ve done here is create a quantum memory,” said Dr. Matthew Sellars of the Laser Physics Centre at the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia.
Slowing down light allows scientists to map information onto it. The information is then transferred from the light to the crystal, Sellars said. Then when the scientists release the light, the information is transferred back onto the beam.