Nanooptical traps are a promising building block for quantum technologies. Austrian and German scientists have now removed an important obstacle to their practical use. They were able to show that a special form of mechanical vibration heats trapped particles in a very short time and knocks them out of the trap.
By controlling individual atoms, quantum properties can be investigated and made usable for technological applications. For about ten years, physicists have been working on a technology that can capture and control atoms: so-called nanooptical traps.
The technique of capturing microscopic objects with light known from optical tweezers is applied to optical waveguides, in this case a special glass fiber. The glass fiber may only be a few hundred nanometers thin, i.e. about 100 times thinner than a human hair. Laser light of different frequencies is sent into the glass fiber, creating a light field around the waveguide that can hold individual atoms.To read more, click here.