Photonic IC that can manipulate atoms. A group of scientists from California State University, Pasadena, claim to have developed an optical circuit that uses light to manipulate individual atoms in small, self-contained units. According to them, the photonic integrated circuit is an integrated optical circuit with a photonic crystal that can both localise and interface atoms with guided photons in the device.

The optical properties of photonic crystals are determined by factors like their physical geometry and size of the waveguide. This feature allowed the scientists to make a photonic crystal of silicon nitride that acts as waveguide for laser light tuned to certain atomic transitions in caesium. The caesium atom absorbs and scatters these wavelengths, generating forces that could trap and manipulate the atom.

The photonic crystal is integrated into a small, self-contained system that has a readily available supply of caesium atoms. These units are relatively cheap to make and easy to operate. This interesting technology could serve as high-quality building block for quantum computation and communication. It also opens door for several experimental opportunities.

Analogue standing tall
Over the last few years, we have witnessed the shifting of electronics world from analogue to more sophisticated and efficient digital substitutes. But all analogue components cannot be completely substituted by digital devices; they would coexist and complement each other. With the extensive developments in the IoT segment, we see it driving many new technologies and products in analogue components and chips.


The author is a dancer, karaoke aficionado, and a technical correspondent at EFY. Find her on Twitter @AnuBomb.

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