How to View Atoms In Slow Motion?

Studying the material interactions of atoms at nanoscale is the basis of physics. This is what precise is difficult to achieve. There are many theories and postulates to explain many phenomenons witnessed day to day in physics but the number of occurrences that someone has seen the interactions are very rare. The research by National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)is one of those rare cases. The scientists are finally able to study how these atomic particles work by using LASER light and operating the atoms in slow motion.

The study which is the collaborative venture of NIST and University of Maryland is a step ahead in quantum computation. The aim of the effort was to see how the atoms behave when collided. For achieving this, the scientist used the various cooling techniques to cool the material or Rubidium-87. When cooled to almost absolute zero (100 nano Kelvin), the resultant effect was to freeze the atom thereby making its movements slow. As the material became Bose-Einstein condensate, the researchers focused LASER beam on it and made to happen its collision with similar particles. The materials dispersed in different directions and the scientists could see the interactions in slow motion.

Had the researchers not applied LASER light in this experiment, the condensate would have remained in the form of a sphere visually identical from all directions and thereby defeating the purpose by not dispersing. The sphere is nothing but cluster of almost frozen atoms. As for now, the technique of slow motion has appeared well. Further research might perhaps be on developing the mathematical model of the findings.

The following video shows the actual process as happening depicted in the paper presented in latest edition of journal Science.