A magneto-optical trap (abbreviated MOT) is a device that uses both laser cooling with magneto-optical trapping in order to produce samples of cold, trapped, neutral atoms at temperatures as low as several microkelvins, two or three times the recoil limit (see Doppler cooling limit). By combining the small momentum of a single photon with a velocity and spatially dependent absorption cross section and a large number of absorption-spontaneous emission cycles, atoms with initial velocities of hundreds of metres per second can be slowed to tens of centimetres per second.
Although charged particles can be trapped using a Penning trap or a Paul trap using a combination of electric and magnetic fields, these traps do not work for neutral atoms.
Famous quotes containing the word trap:
“We are not very much to blame for our bad marriages. We live amid hallucinations; and this especial trap is laid to trip our feet with, and all are tripped up first and last. But the mighty Mother who had been so sly with us, as if she felt that she owed us some indemnity, insinuates into the Pandora-box of marriage some deep and serious benefits, and some great joys.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (18031882)