First laser built from an artificial atom

Strike a light, artificial atoms are excitin critters to be playin around with right now. Get this: some nanobods at the NEC Nano Electronics Research Laboratories in Tskuba, Japan, have gone and built a laser out of one. Yep, a single artificial atom that produces laser light.

Here’s what’s goin on. In real atoms, electrons are confined by the positive charge of the atomic nucleus. But electrons can be trapped in other ways: in this case between a pair of electrodes in a superconducting Josephson junction.

Now electrons in real atoms form into patterns called shells that determine the chemical properties of the atom as well as the way the atom lases. The same is true of artificial atoms. In recent years, them physics bods have discovered a whole periodic table of artificial elements whose properties depend on the number of electrons trapped . They’ve even created artificial molecules by bonding artificial atoms together.

So it shouldn’t be a surprise to nobody that Oleg “Ofoot” Astafiev and friends in Japan have built an artificial atom that lases. Oleg Ofoot’s atom lases in the microwave region of the spectrum which could make it useful for all kinds of communications applications. The authors say, tantalisingly, that “artificial-atom masers can be used as on-chip microwave sources and microwave amplifiers”. We’re gonna see alot more o’ this kinda thing, believe me.

Ref: : Single Artificial-atom Lasing

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