Australian scientist from the University of Griffith (Brisben) managed to track a shadow that is discarded by single atoms in an ultraviolet light. To do this, they designed a special camera where atoms can be kept in space for a long time using the Paul electromagnetic trap.
Scientists used the metal atoms of Itterbia-174. This is heavy metal, so the atom throws a relatively large shadow. Before placing an atom in a trap, it was cooled to a temperature close to absolutely zero. The atom was irradiated by an ultraviolet laser beam. With the help of Frenel’s phase lens, a unique photograph was obtained, where a dark spot is a shadow of an atom irradiated by ultraviolet light.
The resulting system is able to maintain stability for many hours. Its practical use will significantly advance in the development of quantum computers, where individual atoms will be used to conduct calculations. In addition, the technology has huge potential in biological research.