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May 10 2013

Ultracold Atoms for Quantum Sensors Now Also in Compact Devices


Researchers developed a portable way to produce ultracold atoms for quantum technology and quantum information processing, a scientific breakthrough that was published and featured on the front cover of Nature Nanotechnology.

The new technique is crucial for the measurement of atomic quantum states in compact devices, which is needed for a variety of practical applications, including quantum computers (and the all-knowing 'tricorder' scanning device from Star Trek...). For example, many of the most accurate measurement devices, including the atomic clocks needed for GPS satellites, work by observing how atoms transfer between individual quantum states. The highest precision is obtained with long observation times, often using slow-moving ultracold atoms that need to be prepared in a large apparatus.

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