By Mikkel Andersen, a physicist at the University at Otago in New Zealand, as told to Flora LichtmanPosted 04.12.2011 at 11:32 am 0 Comments
"We created a method to control individual atoms, to get them exactly where we want them, when we want them: an atom trap. Atoms are very fast, so we use powerful cooling lasers to slow them down. The lasers are on a table floating on air cushions, in a room without windows so we can't harm people on the street. We need laser beams coming from all directions so there's a force on the atom opposite its motion regardless of which direction it's moving. It's like a bicyclist's nightmare: Whichever way you go, the wind is against you.