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A technique to stabilise alkali metal vapour density using gold nanoparticles, so electrons can be accessed for applications including quantum computing, atom cooling and precision measurements, has been patented by scientists at the University of Bath.
Alkali metal vapours, including lithium, sodium, potassium, rubidium and caesium, allow scientists to access individual electrons, due to the presence of a single electron in the outer 'shell' of alkali metals.
Potential - Range - Applications - Operations - Storage
This has great potential for a range of applications, including logic operations, storage and sensing in quantum computing, as well as in ultra-precise time measurements with atomic clocks, or in medical diagnostics including cardiograms and encephalograms.
However, a serious technical obstacle has been reliably controlling the pressure of the vapour within an enclosed space, for instance the tube of an optical fibre. The vapour needs to be prevented from sticking to the sides in order to retain its quantum properties, but existing methods to do this, including directly heating vapour containers are slow, costly, and impractical at scale.
Scientists - University - Bath - Colleague - Bulgarian
Scientists from the University of Bath, working with a colleague at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, have devised an ingenious method of controlling the vapour by coating the interior of containers with nanoscopic gold particles 300,000 times smaller than a pinhead.
When illuminated with green laser light the nanoparticles rapidly absorb and convert the light into heat, warming the vapour and...
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