Research NewsPhysics

Laser Trap Gives Clearer View of Condensates

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Science  13 Feb 1998:
Vol. 279, Issue 5353, pp. 986
DOI: 10.1126/science.279.5353.986b

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Alexander Hellemans The magnetic traps used to confine Bose-Einstein condensates (BECs) limit the kinds of studies that can be carried out on this new state of matter, because the magnetic fields freeze the spins of the trapped atoms in one orientation. Now a research team has removed the barrier with a new kind of trap. As they will be reporting in Physical Review Letters, they have developed a trap that confines a BEC with nothing but light beams, allowing investigators to play with the spins of the atoms that merge into the condensate.