A new imaging technique that can improve clock precision and add new atomic-level detail to studies like magnetism and superconductivity has been developed by JILA scientists. Rapid, precise measurements of quantum behavior in an atomic clock creates visual art and combines spectroscopy with high-resolution microscopy.
“This technique allows us to write a piece of beautiful ‘music’ with laser light and atoms, and then map that into a structure and freeze it like a stone so we can look at individual atoms listening to the different tones of the laser, read out directly as an image,” JILA/NIST Fellow Jun Ye said.
Imaging spectroscopy gives information about the local environment of the atoms. The method has been used to produce two-dimensional images, and researchers hope 3-D images based on layer-by-layer measurements, as done in tomography, are in our future.
The research is backed by institutions such as NIST, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and the National Science Foundation.