New way found to cool atoms and molecules

Aug 09, 2005

Physicists at The University of Texas say they've found a new technique for cooling atoms and molecules, allowing more effective quantum physics studies.

The researchers report finding a way to use lasers to form walls that allow atoms and molecules to pass through in one direction, but do not allow them to return.

The technique might lead to advances in atomic clocks, which are used to standardize time.

Dr. Mark Raizen of the university's Center for Nonlinear Dynamics and his colleagues described the one-way wall technique in Physical Review Letters and Europhysics Letters published earlier this year.

Raizen's one-way wall extends the capabilities of laser and evaporative cooling, which have been limited to cooling a small number of atoms in the periodic table.

"The beauty of the one-way atomic wall," Raizen said, "is that there is almost no increase in kinetic energy."

With no increase in kinetic energy comes no increase in heat. By expanding and contracting the space holding the trapped atoms and molecules, the temperature can be lowered to near absolute zero.

It's at such ultra cold temperatures -- minus 459 degrees Fahrenheit -- that quantum physicists can manipulate atoms and molecules.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: Glass coating improves battery performance

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Superatomic nickel core and unusual molecular reactivity

13 hours ago

A superatom is a combination of two or more atoms that form a stable structural fragment and possess unique physical and chemical properties. Systems, that contain superatoms, open a number of amazing possibilities ...

The construction of ordered nanostructures from benzene

13 hours ago

A way to link benzene rings together in a highly ordered three-dimensional helical structure using a straightforward polymerization procedure has been discovered by researchers from RIKEN Center for Sustainable ...

Better measurements of single molecule circuits

Feb 18, 2015

It's nearly 50 years since Gordon Moore predicted that the density of transistors on an integrated circuit would double every two years. "Moore's Law" has turned out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy that ...

Recommended for you

New nanodevice defeats drug resistance

11 hours ago

Chemotherapy often shrinks tumors at first, but as cancer cells become resistant to drug treatment, tumors can grow back. A new nanodevice developed by MIT researchers can help overcome that by first blocking ...

Glass coating improves battery performance

11 hours ago

Lithium-sulfur batteries have been a hot topic in battery research because of their ability to produce up to 10 times more energy than conventional batteries, which means they hold great promise for applications ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.