"What is important for scientists, this is the first merging of cold atomic science and nano-scale, and this opens the door for a new generation of cold atom experiments and nanoscale devices," said researcher Lene Vestergaard Hau to the journal Physical Review Letters.
A small-scale destructive power
Harvard physicists found that a high voltage nano tubes can cause cold atoms to spiral into a dramatic acceleration before it was destroyed by a monstrous – a small-scale destructive power similar to the inevitable appeal of black holes in the material at cosmic scales.
“What is important for scientists, this is the first merging of cold atomic science and nano-scale, and this opens the door for a new generation of cold atom experiments and nanoscale devices,” said researcher Lene Vestergaard Hau to the journal Physical Review Letters.
Hau and co-author Anne Goodsell, Trygve Ristroph, and A. Jene Golovchenko cold laser cloud of rubidium atoms into a million tiny part of a degree above absolute zero. The physicists then launched this millimeter-sized atomic clouds to carbon nano tubes and charge to hundreds of volts.
Most of the atom through the wire correctly, but that comes within one micron can not escape and are interested in, reaches an unusually high speed when the atoms into a tube nano twisted. “From the beginning about 5 meters per second, the cold atoms reach speeds of roughly 1,200 meters per second or 4320 km / h when they rounded the nano tubes,” said Goodsell. “As part of this incredible acceleration, temperature related to the atomic kinetic energy increases from 0.1 degrees Kelvin to thousands of degrees Kelvin in less than a microsecond.”
Atoms in the acceleration is then separated into an electron and an ion rotating in parallel around the nanowire, completing each orbit in just a few billionth of a second. Electron is finally sucked into the nanotube via quantum tunneling, causing ion friend was shot out – was hit by a 300 volt load nano tubes – at speeds ranging from 26 kilometers per second (93 600 km / h).
“Science and nano-scale cold atoms each have provided exciting new systems for research and applications,” says Golovchenko who is a Professor of Physics at Harvard. “This is the first experimental realization of a combined system of cold atoms and nanostructures. Our system demonstrates sensitive investigation of the dynamics of atoms, electrons, and ions at the nanoscale.”