Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Chilled atoms are going to heat up scientific opportunities

Chilled atoms are going to heat up scientific opportunities: “Atomic lasers don’t sound that incredible, but they can be quite useful. Just like how the photons in a laser all have the same wavelength, the same polarization, the same direction—atoms do the same thing when they’re in BEC,” explains Aubin. “A BEC is like a laser for atoms.” Atomic lasers are more powerful than traditional lasers made of light. Because atoms have mass, atomic lasers are characterized by much shorter wavelengths...
An atomic laser also provides new ways to simulate solid-state systems. A resistor, transistor, superconductor, microchip or any solid-state system consists of solid crystals through which electrons flow. The crystals have inherent impurities that affect the flow of electrons. Aubin plans on using light lasers to create perfect crystal lattices through which BEC atoms, simulating electrons, will flow.

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