'The speed of light' is a byword for the extremes of rapidity: nothing travels faster than light. But Chris Phillips of Imperial College in London and co-workers have found a new way to apply the brakes to light. As Phillips explains on Friday 21 April at the Institute of Physics Condensed Matter and Materials Physics conference, at the University of Exeter, he and his colleagues have shown that light passing through a sandwich of wafer-thin films of semiconductors can be slowed to less than 1/40th of its speed in empty space. And the researchers think that ultimately their semiconductor sandwiches could bring light to a complete standstill.
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