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Posted: Jan 13, 2015

Physicists create superatom

(Nanowerk News) The motto “United we are strong“ is also valid in the quantum world. Under appropriate conditions, a cloud of several hundred atoms can behave like a single atom, virtually developing super-power.
Upon excitation with an ultraviolet laser into highly excited states, the atoms start to interact with each other. This interaction can be made so strong that exactly one atom of the cloud is excited and the excitation of two or more atoms is suppressed.
Because every atom in the cloud can be the chosen one, quantum mechanics tell us that in such a situation, all possibilities are realized simultaneously. The atoms are therefore connected with each other and constitute a single object – a superatom – with a hundred times enhanced excitation probability as compared to a single atom.
The groups of Prof. Herwig Ott and Prof. Michael Fleischhauer from the University of Kaiserslautern have shown how such a superatom can be created und under which conditions the above mentioned properties can be observed ("Mesoscopic Rydberg-blockaded ensembles in the superatom regime and beyond").
Superatoms are not only fascinating physical objects, they bear also great potential for the future application in quantum information processing.
Source: Technische Universität Kaiserslautern
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