Atom laser developed by physicists, that can stay longer

Steven Burnett
Steven Burnett

Updated · Jun 16, 2022

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Quantum mechanics states that atoms must also be considered waves. Lasers produce light by using coherent waves. This suggests that atom lasers could contain coherent waves made up of matter. However, the question remains: Can these coherent waves of the matter last longer than necessary to be usable in applications? Amsterdam-based physicists provided the answer to this question.

The bosons must be in sync.

Bose-Einstein Condensate (BEC) is widely used in atom Lasers. The two types of elementary particles, called fermions and bosons, are referred to as Bose-Einstein Condensate. Bosons are distinguished from fermions by their hardness and soft nature. Photon is the smallest form of boson and the best example.

Bosons are formed by the combination of particles of matter and atoms. The atoms behave just like light particles. Bosons are unique because they can exist simultaneously in two states. Bose-Einstein Condensate is formed when condensation occurs.

Condensates are a problem in our day-to-day lives because the atoms do not behave like one. Temperature is what destroys synchronicity. Heat causes particles to start moving around when heated substances. It becomes nearly impossible to get them to behave like one. Extremely low temperatures can be as low as one-millionth an inch above absolute

Float explosion

The physics lab created the first Bose-Einstein Condensates. This discovery opened many doors to building atom lasers, which could be used to produce beams. Unfortunately, these devices had a very short life span. Even though the lasers could produce pulses from their beams of matter waves, it was necessary for a new BEC to be made before the next pulse could be released.

This was a good starting point for an atom laser. Before continuous lasers could be created, ordinary optical lasers were first made in a pulsed format. Despite rapid advances in optical laser technology, only six months later was, the first continuous laser made. However, it wasn’t until nearly 25 years later that atom Lasers could produce a continuous version.

Bose-Einstein condensates suffered a major problem: They were fragile, and the light destroyed them. But, condensate formation requires light. Laser lighting is necessary to cool a substance to one-millionth of its original degree. BECs couldn’t be sustained for long periods, so they could not survive.

The Solution

University of Amsterdam scientists came up with a method to create Bose-Einstein condensate. In the past, all of the cooling occurred in one place. The cooling process was to be spread over space and not in time. Each cooling step causes the atoms to move.

The experiment ends with the ultracold Atoms reaching the center of the experiment, where they can create coherent matter waves in BEC. These atoms can still be used, even though new atoms are in the pipeline to replenish BEC. This allows us to continue the process almost indefinitely.

It was simple in concept, but it was difficult to execute. For the construction of a continuous-atom laser, laser cooling was crucial. A dedicated cooling machine was necessary. This problem was solved in 2019 by the physicists who added more lasers. At that moment, the continuous-wave Bose-Einstein Condensate became a reality.

The next goal for physicists would be to use their laser to produce a steady beam of matter. Their lasers can produce stable beams, and they can run for long periods. Ordinary lasers may not be able to produce stable beams, but matter lasers might.

Steven Burnett

Steven Burnett

Steven Burnett has over 15 years of experience spanning a wide range of industries and domains. He has a flair for collating statistical data through extensive research practices, and is well-versed in generating industry-specific reports that enables his clients to better comprehend a market’s landscape and aid in making well-informed decisions. His hobbies include playing football and the guitar.