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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/E006361/1
Title: Invisible Solids and Frozen Light: Royal Society Summer Science and Glasgow Science Exhibition 2006
Principal Investigator: Phillips, Professor C
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Physics
Organisation: Imperial College London
Scheme: Partnerships- Public Engage
Starts: 01 April 2006 Ends: 31 October 2006 Value (£): 16,362
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Quantum Optics & Information
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Creative Industries
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
Royal Society Summer Science and Glasgow Science ExhibitionsThe applicants have been awarded an exhibit at the prestigious exhibitions to take place over 4 days in London and 3 days in Glasgow. The exhibitions are widely promoted by the Royal Society and annually attract thousands of A-level schoolchildren along with the general public, teachers, industrial representatives and government policymakers. For the exhibit to be successful, an exciting hands on display is to be created, transported to both venues and erected, and several experienced scientists must be available to directly discuss the work with the audience.The research: Invisible Solids and Frozen LightAt the atomic and nanometre scales, the optical properties of matter are governed by the strange laws of quantum mechanics. In our research we use laser light to radically change these properties from those seen in nature, with counterintuitive results. We have made solid materials, which are normally opaque, completely transparent using invisible laser light which is not itself absorbed. In doing this, light is dramatically slowed down inside the transparent material and may even be frozen and stored. These effects could be used to make quantum computers which do calculations using quantum probability waves rather than electrons and will work exponentially faster than any existing machine. Another important application of this work, at a time of increased need for security, is for transmission, storage and manipulation of information in a system which is absolutely impossible for an unauthorized user to access. The displayMost of the requested funds will be used to pay for the design, fabrication and erection of a robust and engaging display. Key interactive elements will include:1. A water dipping tank and Youngs slits experiments with laser pointers, will help explain the concept of interference, central to the research.2. Viewing a TV cartoon through holographic filter spectacles - interference can make things invisible!3. Real nanoparticle samples, (luminous powders) in which quantum effects dictates the colour, and a ball and stick model.4. Computer simulated laser pulses being slowed down and compressed. Laser pulses will be familiar to anyone who's seen Star Trek but they won't have seen pulses squashed from a mile long to 50 microns!An informative and attention-grabbing backdrop is also essential for exhibit identity as well as projecting a unified theme for the interactive elements.
Key Findings
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Organisation Website: http://www.imperial.ac.uk