Wednesday, February 13, 2013

David J. Wineland: trapping ions for clocks and computers (TToD)

David J. Wineland – probing trapped atoms with light

David Wineland, an experimental physicist at the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) in Boulder, Colorado, is one of the leading researchers in the field of trapped ions: that is, the study of how positively-charged ions (i.e. atoms stripped of one or more electrons) may be trapped, cooled, and manipulated.  This field shares many similarities with experiments on neutral atoms (laser cooling, for example, is just as useful for ions as it is for neutral atoms), but also has a number of significant differences. The most important difference that distinguishes ions from atoms is, obviously enough, the fact that ions have a non-zero net electrical charge. This has two very important consequences.

Read the rest at The Trenches of Discovery--->