Controlling photons using electromagnetically induced transparency

Nature. 2001 Sep 20;413(6853):273-6. doi: 10.1038/35095000.


It is well known that a dielectric medium can be used to manipulate properties of light pulses. However, optical absorption limits the extent of possible control: this is especially important for weak light pulses. Absorption in an opaque medium can be eliminated via quantum mechanical interference, an effect known as electromagnetically induced transparency. Theoretical and experimental work has demonstrated that this phenomenon can be used to slow down light pulses dramatically, or even bring them to a complete halt. Interactions between photons in such an atomic medium can be many orders of magnitude stronger than in conventional optical materials.