Slow glass

I recall years ago a British SF writer coming up with the notion of slow glass, a pane of glass treated in such a way that light would be slowed down so much that you could look out of your window and enjoy the view from 20 or 30 years before, when the window was first installed. Is this scientifically feasible?

It is possible to “slow” single pulses of laser light down indefinitely , However normal light is too complex and can be slowed down by microseconds by passing through a high refractive index material. I think that such a glass will not be possible, but would love to be proved wrong

That’s from Light of Other Days by Bob Shaw. He was Irish,btw.

Excellent story.

Unfortunately, it would be impossible to manufacture glass that works the way he describes it.

Consider this: It takes weeks to months for light to pass through his “windows.” He mentions that it takes precise quality control to keep seasons in sync (so that a summer scene absorbed two years ago in June is visible in June, and not during September) for the higher priced products. This shows that the thickness of the glass is the single factor determining when light is released.

If this were so, then imperfections of as little as an angstrom would caused the different parts of the glass to release their photons out of syncronization with the rest of the plate, causing any image to be fuzzed out, as each photon could be minutes out of phase with its neighbours.

So the solar energy of an entire day, rather than heating the glass, is stored in a thin layer of material? But not just one day, but thousands upon thousands.

What if you were to slightly scratch the active layer in the slow-glass pane? It would release many joules of energy, which would destroy the adjacent slow-glass, etc., until the entire pane was an expanding ball of plasma. So, the first baseball that hits your front window would change your home into a smoldering crater. A large one.

Or this: assassins make a 1cm disk of slow-glass that has a 24hr delay. They fire a huge CW laser through it. They take it and stick it on the podium one day before some political figure is scheduled to speak. ZAP! (Issues of timing could be avoided by simply throwing the small piece of slow-glass at the target.)

What I REALLY want is a “slow tunnel”, so when I step into one side, I come out through the other side a few minutes later (or, preferably, earlier than when I went in.) That way I could store matter, not just light!

We’ve had discussions of “slow glass” on the SDMB before. The general consensus is that it wouldn’t work the wat Shaw originally conceived it (glass with a really high index of refraction), so he changed it later. There are certain optical effects that give you a high value of n, some of them 25 years old or more (“self-induced transparency”), and some very recent. None of them are practical for making slow glass.

If you had a chunk of this stuff and it sat around in the sun all day storing up energy, it’d make a pretty damned good bomb. Just like a heavily-charged capacitor. Lotsa energy in a small space that can, in principle, be set off at once. I wouldn’t want to be near it!