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Left in the cold

Laser trap acts as a one-way gate to collect atoms

By
2:44pm, June 20, 2008

“Abandon every hope, all you who enter.”
(Dante’s Inferno)

Like the entrance to hell in Dante’s Inferno, this gate is one-way only. Physicists have created a laser barrier that lets atoms through only in one direction — mimicking the “demon,” proposed by James Clerk Maxwell in a thought experiment, that selectively opens or closes a microscopic gate to let some atoms through but not others.

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