Volume 8 Issue 5, May 2013

Volume 8 Issue 5

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.

Letter p321 ; News & Views p317

IMAGE: ANDREW BROOKES, NPL

COVER DESIGN: ALEX WING

Correspondence

Research Highlights

News and Views

Letters

Articles

Correction