Videotape Brings Atoms to a Focus

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  29 Jan 1999:
Vol. 283, Issue 5402, pp. 626-627
DOI: 10.1126/science.283.5402.626

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution


Physicists have known for decades that atoms can behave like light waves, and that they should be able to guide and focus them like beams of light. But researchers have found creating an atom version of even simple optical elements, such as the humble mirror, to be surprisingly challenging. Now in the 18 January issue of Physical Review Letters, a British team reports using videotape, a cylinder, a lens, and some glue to create the first high-quality curved, focusing atom mirror. Such a mirror is likely to be an important ingredient in the creation of a controllable atom beam that could be used to create integrated circuits and other nanostructures many times smaller than those possible today.