After applying the microwave field for some time, its spatial field distribution is therefore imprinted onto the hyperfine state distribution in the atomic cloud. From this distribution, which we image onto a CCD-camera, we can reconstruct the microwave field. We strive to image and measure molecular properties with ever increasing resolution. We are investigating the fundamental properties of individual atoms and molecules on solid surfaces. We are specifically interested in the build-up of novel molecules and atomic-scale nanostructures using atom manipulation, that is, creating them with the tip of the microscope. Microwaves are an essential part of modern communication technology.
Some of them joined together years ago in the PiHe collaborationwith the goal of determining the mass and other properties of the pion as accurately as possible. Beside the PSI the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics and CERN are involved in the PiHe collaboration. Recently the PiHe researchers published their latest findings in the journal ‘Nature’. Schimmel is convinced that the single-atom transistor has the potential to revolutionise the digital world in another way, too.
Unlike stars and galaxies, dark matter does not emit any light or electromagnetic radiation of any kind, so that we can detect it only through its gravitational effects. In the first moments after the Big Bang, the universe was extremely hot and dense. As the universe cooled, conditions became just right to give rise to the building blocks of matter – the quarks and electrons of which we are all made. A few millionths of a second later, quarks aggregated to produce protons and neutrons. As the universe continued to expand and cool, things began to happen more slowly.
- In this case, atomic manipulation techniques are essential for the controlled buildup of the tip used for AFM imaging .
- In this technique, tiny clouds of laser-cooled ultracold atoms serve as non-invasive probes for the microwave field.
- Though the Big Bang theory cannot describe what the conditions were at the very beginning of the universe, it can help physicists describe the earliest moments after the start of the expansion.
- Microwaves are an essential part of modern communication technology.
Our research combines experiment with theory, employing techniques of atomic physics, quantum optics and optomechanics. A common goal of our activities is to investigate quantum physics in systems of increasing size and complexity. In the laboratories of modern physics the elementary components of matter are studied. To do this, scientists sometimes build artificial atoms to help them understand the laws of matter. A research team at the Paul Scherrer Institute (Villigen/AG) uses a specifically modified helium atom to determine the exact mass and other properties of pions. Pions could help to understand more precisely where atomic nuclei get their mass from.
We also perform density functional theory calculations to elucidate the physical origins of the contrast observed. The calculations reveal that the Pauli repulsion is the source of the atomic resolution and yield insights into the important role of the tip functionalization . Astronomical and physical calculations suggest that the visible universe is only a tiny amount (4%) of what the universe is actually made of. A very large fraction of the universe, in fact 26%, is made of an unknown type of matter called “dark matter”.
The Power Of A Single Atom
One aspect that has proven a major challenge is the manufacture of tiny, atomic-scale wires. Moreover, the production steps in making the atomsized transistors are complex and demanding, meaning that Leuthold, Schimmel and their teams are experimenting with a wide range of materials and geometries. In the computers of tomorrow, millions of single atoms will be performing this dance to transmit signals.
The ratio between voltage and energy consumption is exponential rather than proportional. This means that when voltage is reduced by a factor of ten, energy consumption decreases by a factor of one hundred. As such, the single-atom switch already uses ten thousand times less energy than today’s silicon semiconductor technology.
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.