By Dr. Cameron Chai
A team of researchers from the Ecole Normale Superieure and the Non-Linear Institute at Nice Sophia-Antopolis University in France have developed a method to slow down the movement of a large amount of gaseous atoms. With the help of this method scientists have been able to study properties of protons, neutrons and electrons at an atomic and sub-atomic level.
In the year 1997, a team comprising scientists Steven Chu, Claude Cohen-Tannoudji and William D.Phillips were awarded the Nobel Prize for creating the laser cooling method for this purpose. In the present study, the research team created a freeze trap at high vacuum using electromagnetic forces in order to contain a large mixture of gaseous atoms. As many as a few billion atoms were contained in the freeze trap at a temperature of approximately -273°C.
The success achieved in trapping a large number of gaseous atoms will enable scientists to study gaseous atoms at sub-atomic levels and will also help in studying their degenerated states which is caused due to strong interactions by particles found in various species. Particularly, scientists could benefit from the results of this research as it will help them in understanding quantum mechanics in neutron stars and super conductivity issues occurring in bodies.