German researchers create rubidium atom laser

from the fine-focus dept.
An item on the Nature Science Update website tells of researchers at the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, who have found a way to focus, reflect and split an atom laser beam. They were able to generate a coherent atom beam from a Bose-Einstein condensate. Magnetic forces are used to hold the condensate in a trap. A beam of coherent atoms can be formed by letting the condensate stream out through an opening in the trap's walls.
The German researchers produced an atom laser beam of rubidium-87 atoms. They used normal lasers to tune the atoms' magnetic behavior, then used magnets as mirrors to reflect the atom laser beam and to store it. The paper describing their work appeared in Physical Review Letters, 87: 123 – 321 (2001).

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