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Single atoms delivered on demand.

Scientists at NIST have demonstrated a novel source of atom flux that can provide one, and only one, atom essentially whenever it is needed--the first time such control over neutral atom delivery has been achieved. Reporting in the May 5, 2003 issue of Applied Physics Letters, researchers show that the population of chromium atoms in a magneto-optical trap can be stabilized at the single-atom level with a probability of nearly 99 % by using fast feedback control over trap loading and dumping, together with very-high fluorescence detection efficiency. Further, research shows that the single atoms can be ejected from the trap at rates of up to 10 Hz, while still maintaining at least a 90% chance of ejecting exactly one atom.

Such deterministic control of single atoms has a wide range of potential applications, including quantum information processing, atom-by-atom nano-technology, and fundamental studies of atom-to-atom interactions.

CONTACT: Jabez McClelland, (301) 975-3721; jabez.
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Title Annotation:General Developments
Publication:Journal of Research of the National Institute of Standards and Technology
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Jul 1, 2003
Previous Article:NIST studies extending the scope of electron-beam tomography.
Next Article:Scientists study whirlpools in fermion superfluids.

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