Lasers can be used to heat things up, and also to cool them down. Using carefully tuned lasers, scientists in the UK quantum technology hubs are able to slow atoms down to just a few centimetres per second, colder than the background of the universe.
Students will learn about practical applications of atomic absorption and emission, and how Doppler shifted laser light can be used to trap atoms. They will see how the theoretical physics they study now is being applied to solving real problems, and they will discover how this technology may, one day, be miniaturised for use in a range of super-accurate quantum sensors. It is projected that these sensors will become common technologies within a few years – this will have profound implications for research, and for careers across STEM and beyond.