News of the WeekChemistry

A Cheaper Way to Separate Isotopes?

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Science  01 Oct 1999:
Vol. 286, Issue 5437, pp. 22-23
DOI: 10.1126/science.286.5437.22

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In this week's Physical Review Letters, researchers at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, report using a laser that fires ultrashort, power-packed pulses to separate isotopes of elements ranging from boron to zinc. The technique isn't the first to use lasers to separate isotopes. But this one doesn't require the use of complex and expensive magnets, making it potentially far easier and cheaper, if the cost of the lasers comes down and the technique can be scaled up.