Twisting Light to Trap Atoms
The content you've requested is available without charge only to active Sigma Xi members and affiliates.
If you are an active member, affiliate or individual subscriber, please log in now in order to access this article. Be sure you've entered your member or subscriber number on your profile page. (You can access your profile page through the green box to the right.)
If you are not a member, affiliate or individual subscriber, you can:
To study atoms, you have to be able to get ahold of them. Not only are atoms extremely small, but they're also very quick. For several decades physicists have worked out ways to slow atoms down by cooling them. Sonja Franke-Arnold and Aidan Arnold review some of the work that has been done using lasers to cool and trap atoms. They also discuss their own efforts using "twisted" light, which has several kinds of angular momentum, to create an "optical Ferris wheel" that improves on these processes.