Reaching a record low temperature.
It's getting colder in the laboratory. Physicists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology National Institute of Standards and Technology, governmental agency within the U.S. Dept. of Commerce with the mission of "working with industry to develop and apply technology, measurements, and standards" in the national interest. (NIST (National Institute of Standards & Technology, Washington, DC, www.nist.gov) The standards-defining agency of the U.S. government, formerly the National Bureau of Standards. It is one of three agencies that fall under the Technology Administration (www.technology. ) in Gaithersburg, Md., have chilled atoms to 700 nanokelvins, a temperature barely above absolute zero. Although other researchers have reached lower temperatures either transiently or in one or two dimensions, this represents the lowest temperature yet attained involving the motion of atoms in three dimensions.
The NIST team achieved the new record using a technique borrowed from researchers at the Ecole Normale Superieure (body) Ecole Normale Superieure - (ENS) A higher education and research institution in Paris, France. in Paris (SN: 7/16/94, p.47). William D. Phillips and his colleagues at NIST trapped cesium atoms in an "optical lattice" created by four intersecting laser beams. Oscillating os·cil·late
intr.v. os·cil·lat·ed, os·cil·lat·ing, os·cil·lates
1. To swing back and forth with a steady, uninterrupted rhythm.
2. back and forth in the "hollows" of this lattice, the trapped atoms reach a temperature close to 1 microkelvin. Reducing the laser intensity drives the temperature to 700 nK, slowing the atoms to an average velocity of 7 millimeters per second.