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Laser-cooled atoms are central to modern precision measurements and enable a wide variety of quantum technologies to be realized. Although significant progress has been made in miniaturizing room-temperature atomic sources, simplifying the optical set-up for atomic cooling and loading using technology capable of scalable production has proved difficult. Now, Arnold and colleagues have utilized microfabrication technology to create specialized semiconductor wafers (pictured), which diffract a single incoming laser beam into four appropriately polarized beams, creating a beam-overlap zone ideal for the trapping and cooling of atoms. These gratings similar to miniaturized Lego boards could be mass produced and require only a single alignment.
Arrays of highly aligned nanowires and single-nanowire devices can be fabricated using a nanocombing technique in which the nanowires are anchored to a defined area of a surface and then drawn or combed out over a chemically distinct region of the surface.
A polymeric nanoparticle wrapped in natural membranes of red blood cells can absorb certain toxins and divert them from their cellular targets, offering a biologically inspired detoxification platform.
A magnetic detection assay based on nucleic acid probes and nanoparticles can rapidly identify a variety of bacterial species in clinical specimens with sensitivity down to single bacteria, offering a useful technology platform for point-of-care diagnostics.