Slowing and storage of light

The exciting work of for example the Hau group and the Lukin group at Harvard has stimulated a lot of research in slow and stored light. Slowing light to tens of meters per second and storing some properties of light for an user adjustable time are attractive statements. How do you do slow light done by so many orders of magnitude? What happens to the photons? Such basic questions stimulated us to do some work in this area. For our research group the questions if it possible to couple a light wave to a matter wave in a meaning full fashion is highly exciting and cuurently an open question. The promise this would have to matter interferometry is significant.

However, we first wanted to learn something about slowing and storing. We asked ourselves simple questions. Can you use another Rb isotope? Can you store light with other polarizations than circular? Can you probe the coherence of the stored light? What is the bandwidth of the slowing and storage process? Some of these questions we answered and can be found in the following:

J. Phys. B: At. Mol. Opt. Phys. 38 1857-1866 (2005).