BEC ON A CHIP.
First it was neutral atoms guided along a wire. Then it was a beam of atoms steered over the surface of a microchip. Now the latest feat of atom optics, performed by a group at the Max Planck Institute in Munich, is the creation of a Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC) of rubidium atoms in a microscopic magnetic trap built into a lithographically patterned chip. Not only was this the fastest-formed BEC (it took only 700 ms to form, faster even than the all-optical BEC method reporter earlier
this year see Update 545) but the condensate can be maneuvered
around the microchip a few microns above the surface; in fact the condensate was moved a distance of 1.6 mm. This capability opens up the possibility of numerous atomtronic applications in interferometry, quantum computing, navigation, lithography, holography, and entanglement experiments.