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2011-12-07 [ ]

Counting Atoms with Glass Fiber

A highly sensitive method to detect atoms was developed at the Vienna University of Technology.

Visualisierung der Glasfaser: Die Lichtwelle im Inneren ragt aus der Faser heraus und wird durch die Atome beeinflusst, die oben und unten knapp außerhalb der Glasfaser angelagert sind.

Glass fiber cables are indispensable for the internet – now they can also be used as a quantum physics lab. The Vienna University of Technology is the only research facility in the world, where single atoms can be controllably coupled to the light in ultra-thin fiber glass. Specially prepared light waves interact with very small numbers of atoms, which makes it possible to build detectors that are extremely sensitive to tiny trace amounts of a substance. Professor Arno Rauschenbeutel’s team, one of six research groups at the Vienna Center for Quantum Science and Technology, has presented this new method in the journal “Physical Review Letters”. The research project was carried out in collaboration with the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany.

Dispersive Optical Interface Based on Nanofiber-Trapped Atoms
S. T. Dawkins, R. Mitsch, D. Reitz, E. Vetsch, A. Rauschenbeutel
Phys. Rev. Lett. 107, 242601 (2011)

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