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Atom Trap Trace Analysis set-up
Chun-Yen Chen, a postdoctoral fellow at Argonne, aligns the laser beams of the table-top krypton dating setup. To operate the magneto-optical trap requires at least 10 mW of laser light, compared with only around 1 pW of light emitted by a captured atom. The main challenge when detecting single atoms is to reduce the background photons scattered off walls, windows, and even the optics outside the vacuum chamber. (credit: Argonne National Laboratory)
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