Research NewsPhysics

Painting Pictures With Atom Waves

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Science  09 Aug 1996:
Vol. 273, Issue 5276, pp. 737
DOI: 10.1126/science.273.5276.737


A Japanese team has come up with a striking demonstration of the wavelike nature of matter. Using optical principles to control the quantum-mechanical waves of neon atoms, the researchers coaxed the atoms to form a minute physical image. They passed the waves through a computer-generated hologram, an apparently meaningless pattern in a membrane that caused the atom waves to interfere and create an intelligible image—the letters NEC—on a detector.