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Laser faucet

Patrícia Christina Marques Castilho

The black ring and transparent cube pictured above function as a faucet that can transmit a specific laser beam polarization, explains physicist Raul Teixeira. His research team uses the device to control the amount of light that reaches the heart of their experiment, where strontium atoms are cooled to close to absolute zero, a temperature that does not exist in nature. Understanding how these atoms react to light can help scientists design new lasers, sensors, or memory components for quantum computing. The system also functions as a representation of much larger scales, simulating how light travels through the icy clouds of interstellar media.

Image submitted by Raul Celistrino Teixeira, a professor at the Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCAR)