A control voltage is responsible for moving the atom, thus for turning the single-atom switch on and off. And the control voltage needed to operate the single-atom switch is one hundred times lower than what is required for today’s silicon semiconductors. Schimmel and his team have also succeeded in radically reducing the voltage from some thirty millivolts in their first single-atom switch prototype to a mere three-to-six millivolts in the latest version. One of the main goals of this workshop is to assemble a Community Roadmap that is supported by the cold atom community and the potential user communities interested in its science goals.

  • They evidence this quantum superposition by measuring the strongest class of quantum correlations between light beams that interact with the vibration.
  • This principle is what gave rise to the name “atomic-scale technology”.
  • “I wanted to find answers to fundamental questions, and I wanted to know what holds the world together.
  • Cold cesium atoms magnetically extracted from a 2D magneto-optical trap”. Europhys. Lett. 41, p.141 .
  • Schimmel and his team have also succeeded in radically reducing the voltage from some thirty millivolts in their first single-atom switch prototype to a mere three-to-six millivolts in the latest version.

The research alliance between Zurich and Karlsruhe is now united in the new Centre of Atomic Scale Technologies. Although the collaboration has only recently begun, the research groups involved were predestined for the task at hand. Thomas Schimmel is a pioneer of electronic circuits at the level of the atom, and Jürg Leuthold has demonstrated in his past research that photonic switches are possible at the atomic level. Moreover, Leuthold was the first researcher able to place both optical and electronic switching elements on the same chip. The tiny chip is also a modulator that can transform electrical signals into light signals and vice-versa—an extremely useful feature for transmitting data in fibre optic cables.

The Power Of A Single Atom

By a precise arrangement of the experiment, they ensured that not even the faintest trace of the light-vibration pair creation time (t1 vs. t2) was left in the universe. Quantum mechanics then predicts that the phonon-photon pair becomes entangled, and exists in a superposition of time t1andt2. This prediction was beautifully confirmed by the measurements, which yielded results incompatible with the classical probabilistic theory. Researchers at ETH Zurich and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology are exploring a fundamentally new type of microchip that works with single-atom switches. The new chip will be 100 times smaller than standard CMOS chips, yet able to process at least as much data while consuming much less energy.


It took 380,000 years for electrons to be trapped in orbits around nuclei, forming the first atoms. These were mainly helium and hydrogen, which are still by far the most abundant elements in the universe. Present observations suggest that the first stars formed from clouds of gas around 150–200 million years after the Big Bang. Heavier atoms such as carbon, oxygen and iron, have since been continuously produced in the hearts of stars and catapulted throughout the universe in spectacular stellar explosions called supernovae. He grew up in rural Toggenburg, in eastern Switzerland, where his father owned a textile factory in the Neckertal region. As a child, Leuthold paid close attention when the repairman serviced the machines, and he took over this task when he was a teenager.

Community Workshop On Cold Atoms In Space

In their experiments, they use microstructured “atom chips” to laser-cool, trap, and coherently manipulate clouds of ultracold atoms. Using tailored magnetic potentials generated by current-carrying wires on the chip, they perform experiments on the quantum physics of atomic Bose-Einstein condensates . In particular, they investigate many-particle entangled states of the BECs and their possible application in quantum metrology and quantum information processing. Furthermore, they use the atoms as sensitive probes for electromagnetic fields near the chip surface and to study the dynamics of on-chip solid-state systems such as tiny mechanical oscillators.

This Community Roadmap will outline technological milestones as well as refine interim and long-term scientific goals. Moreover, we study the minute changes in the molecular structure, related to different charge states. The structural and functional changes of charged molecules are important in catalysis, electrochemistry, photoconversion and charge transfer . We employ molecule characterization by AFM and STM to identify molecules in our search for novel natural products to verify synthesized molecules and to study the properties of elusive molecules created by atom manipulation . “Continuous beams of cold atoms for space applications”, Applied Physics B, 84, 659 .

In Basel, the group continues its research in the field of quantum optics and ultracold atoms. The unexpected findings raise new questions about the exact microscopic mechanisms by which a weak continuous green light can put some gold atoms into motion. “Answering them will be key to bringing optical nano-antennas from the lab into the world of applications – and we are working on it,” says Wen Chen, the study’s first author. In the new study, EPFL researchers managed to entangle the photon and the phonon (i.e., light and vibration) produced in the fission of an incoming laser photon inside the crystal. To do so, the scientists designed an experiment in which the photon-phonon pair could be created at two different instants. Classically, it would result in a situation where the pair is created at time t1 with 50% probability, or at a later time t2 with 50% probability.

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