Robert Boyd, an optics professor at the University of Rochester made a breakthrough in optics in 2003. He used what he calls "table top optics." The optics system consists of lasers and a small piece of ruby. The optics can slow light from over 669,600,000 MPH (186,000 miles per second) down to just 38MPH, or 56 feet per second.  Earlier systems by other researchers that previously accomplished this required a room full of equipment.
Grant for Research
A team of researchers led by professor Boyd at the University of Rochester, has been awarded $6.5 million to show how his new cutting edge research will help optical computing. The technology has immediate applications in fibreoptics for merging optical data in computer networks. Boyd has developed a simple table top apparatus to slow light down to 38MPH. Also participating in the DARPA grant are researchers from Cornell University, Duke University, University of California at Santa Barbara and the University of Southern California. Additional methods and technology using materials other than ruby to control the slowing of light pulses, will be developed under the grant. (cont.)