Italian scientists build atomic laser

July 6, 2007

Italian scientists said they have discovered how to achieve an "atomic laser" envisioned by Albert Einstein in 1925.

Lasers, as they exist now, are concentrated streams of light particles, or photons.

The discovery by Florence University researchers will produce lasers of atoms, rather than photons, which was previously impossible because scientists couldn't find a way to stop atoms from bouncing into one another, the Italian news agency ANSA reported Friday.

An atomic laser is eagerly awaited in the field of micro-electronics, said lead scientist Massimo Inguscio.

Inguscio's team used potassium isotopes to build an "atomic condensate" squeezed into a harmonious whole by a magnetic field, similar to a theoretical model envisioned by Einstein and his colleague Satyendra Nath Bose, Inguscio said.

"In this way the interaction of atoms is virtually nonexistent," Inguscio said.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

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