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NIST Builds Directional Atom Laser from Bose-Einstein Condensate

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WASHINGTON, D.C., March 11 -- Atoms in a Bose-Einstein condensate can be manipulated with light to form a highly directional atom laser, report physicists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. This represents a significant advance from the first atom laser demonstrated in 1997 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as the NIST laser emits a very narrow directional beam. The MIT laser had a broad beam that was directed by gravity.
To make the laser, researchers aim two optical lasers at the condensate. They then tune the optical lasers to slightly different frequencies to determine direction.
Mar 1999
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