Atomic superconductor one-ups squid

Atomic superconductor one-ups squid

Technology News |
By eeNews Europe

When gases are cooled to near absolute zero, they condense into a superfluid that can be launched around a ring to exhibit perpetual motion, similar to the manner in which superconducting quantum interference devices (squids) detectors circulate electrons around a superconducting ring. Such atomic Squids could enable v the size of micro-electro-mechanical systems.

NIST researchers cooperated with the University of Maryland on the world’s first atom-circuit formed by a loop of atoms in a superfluidic state which can be switched on and off with a laser controlled barrier. The research team was able to demonstrate perpetual motion—called persistent current—for a record-setting 40 seconds.

NIST said it was working toward a future atomtronics era where all circuit components would be based on atomic-scale mechanisms that can harness quantum effects to create superconductors, superinsulators and now superfluidic devices.

Atomic-scale circuit harnesses ring of ultracold sodium gas (red) circulating around a ring, with a laser-based barrier stopping the flow of atoms around the circuit (left); without the barrier the atoms circulate around the ring (right).
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