Stopping light via hot atoms

Phys Rev Lett. 2001 Jan 22;86(4):628-31. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.86.628.


We prove that it is possible to freeze a light pulse (i.e., to bring it to a full stop) or even to make its group velocity negative in a coherently driven Doppler broadened atomic medium via electromagnetically induced transparency (EIT). This remarkable phenomenon of the ultraslow EIT polariton is based on the spatial dispersion of the refraction index n(omega,k), i.e., its wave number dependence, which is due to atomic motion and provides a negative contribution to the group velocity. This is related to, but qualitatively different from, the recently observed light slowing caused by large temporal (frequency) dispersion.