I hate scientists, seriously! They always find solutions to every damn problem, which is messing up my excuses. For example, back when I was a nerd, I avoided ball games by saying I didn’t want to get hit in the face. But now they’ve created digital ball games, and I had to devise a new excuse to avoid them.
And guess what? Those smart scientists have gone even further and made the tiniest ball game ever, where the ball can never hit you! So now I’ve got to update my excuse again.
Do you know how small they are? They are an atom. Yes, you heard it right. Scientists are playing the game of balls with just a ball of a single atom.
Come along; we will take you through the journey and follow up on my commentary about the game.
The players are known as Optical tweezers.
Have you ever heard of optical tweezers? It uses the focused laser beam to hit, move or trap the atoms, molecules and nanoparticles. When the light hits the particle, it gets refracted; meaning it bends and changes its direction. When doing so, it transfers its energy to the particle it hits. This is how the optical tweezers work.
It has found its application from nanotechnology to biophysics. These worked at a single molecular level.
Now these are our players for today. Stay focused as the game now begins.
Optical tweezers at the game
According to Professor Jaewook Ahn, from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, these optical tweezers played the pitcher and catcher roles like in a baseball game:
- The rubidium atoms were cooled to absolute zero to create free-flying atoms of the same.
- One of the optical tweezers was turned on to pitch the atom as a ball over a distance of 4.2µm. Then it was turned off.
- Another optical tweezer was switched on to play the catcher role and turned off once the atom was captured.
Future of the game
The game has just begun. Scientists say it would find its place in quantum computing, and new fields of chemistry to study individual atom-atom interactions would arise.
After all, I cannot hate scientists now. New fields are arising; the optical tweezers that worked at a single molecule level are now playing with single atoms. So come, let us be part of the same and wait for any update of the game we would receive from the scientists.
Until then, stay tuned with us for more such updates, fun, facts and stories of science.