One atom at a time from a BEC

from the ways-to-pick-an-atom dept.
Quantum net for atom angling, an article by Philip Ball online at nature science update (July 30, 2002) describes recently published calculations indicating that "Physicists should be able to land exact numbers of atoms from a quantum cloud." A quantum dot dipped into a Bose-Einstein Condensate for a specified time interval should withdraw one atom from the BEC; for a longer period two atoms, etc. The research paper is available from the e-Print archive:

A Quantum Tweezer for Atoms

Authors: Roberto B. Diener, Biao Wu, Mark G. Raizen, Qian Niu
Comments: 4 pages, 6 figures Revised version
Subj-class: Soft Condensed Matter; Atomic Physics

We propose a quantum tweezer for extracting a desired number of neutral atoms from a reservoir. A trapped Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC) is used as the reservoir, taking advantage of its coherent nature, which can guarantee a constant outcome. The tweezer is an attractive quantum dot, which may be generated by red-detuned laser light. By moving with certain speeds, the dot can extract a desired number of atoms from the BEC through Landau-Zener tunneling. The feasibility of our quantum tweezer is demonstrated through realistic and extensive model calculations.

Now, can they next figure out how to extract single atoms of several different types from a number of BECs and place them together so that they bind in a pre-defined manner?

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