Making light work of molecules

Molecules are not all about atoms, at least according to research from the University of Rostock, Germany, where physicists have created "molecules" using pulses of light. Such light molecules might lead to significant increases in data transfer rates for optical communications technology. The atoms in the light molecules created by Fedor Mitschke and colleagues are temporal solitons, pulses of light that do not dissipate rapidly and retain their shape. These persistent solitons could thus carry data over greater distances without degradation than is currently possible. This is the first time scientists have made temporal solitons stick together to form structures analogous to molecules.