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University of Central Florida researchers have developed a way to control the speed of light. Not only can they speed up a pulse of light and slow it down, they can also make it travel backward.

The results were published recently in the journal Nature Communications.

This achievement is a major step in research that could one day lead to more efficient optical communication, as the technique could be used to alleviate data congestion and prevent information loss. And with more and more devices coming online and data transfer rates becoming higher, this sort of control will be necessary.

Previous attempts at controlling the have included passing light through various materials to adjust its speed. The new technique, however, allows the speed to be adjusted for the first time in the open, without using any pass-through material to speed it up or slow it down.

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Category: Science