laser atom trap

laser atom trap

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This image is part of the feature The Atom Trappers

Credit: PHILIPPE PLAILLY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Laser atom trap. An atom trap is a device for confining a cloud of atoms, represented here by the red glow in the chamber at right. The atoms are confined by polarised laser beams and a magnetic field by the Zeeman effect. If an atom wanders away from the centre, one of four laser beams will interact with the atom to push it back. The atoms are confined in vertical motion by two effects. Gravity stops them rising from the trap, and they are prevented from falling too far by a laser beam reflecting inside the prism in the base of the chamber. Photographed in the laboratory of C. Salomon at the Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris.

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Keywords: atom trap, atomic, atomic physics research, laser, laser trap, physics

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