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Curious layman

Scientists Have Held Individual Atoms for the Very First Time

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  • Researchers have held individual atoms and released them to interact for the first time. 
  • Their secret weapon is a set of three optical tweezer setups to hold atoms in suspension.
  • They made predictions about the few-body problem, but were surprised by their results.

 

Quote

......The researchers use optical tweezers as part of their setup. Atoms can be isolated and held in place with optical tweezers, and these researchers simultaneously used three separate tweezers. Once three atoms are held in laser lock, the researchers move all three setups together and then drop two of the gates. All three atoms are then free to interact in the remaining optical tweezer setup.

https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/amp31026792/scientists-hold-atoms-quantum-physics/?utm_source=quora&utm_medium=referral

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I wish headline writers would take more care

Humanity has been playing with single atoms for ages.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_(atoms)

And even taking their photograph (Technically, it's an ion...)

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2018/02/trapped-atom-photograph-long-exposure-competition-spd/

 

What's new is getting a few atoms together close enough to react- which is neat

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