We demonstrated that microfabricated gold wires on a substrate can create a magnetic field that guides neutral atoms, just as optical fibers guide light A microscope photograph of a micro-electromagnet atom guide is shown.
The long term importance of the demonstration of chip-based waveguides for neutral atoms is enormous. They represent an important advance in atom plumbing that can be used to transport atoms and Bose condensates and open up a new regime of the physics of tightly confined atoms. We have done simulations that suggest that atom beamsplitters and interferometers can be fabricated using these atom guides, opening the way for robust and sensitive atom gyroscopes and for apparatus designed to test general relativity.
Mara Prentiss and Robert Westervelt
Harvard MRSEC (DMR-0820484)