Yearbook 2009

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According to modern cosmological theories, matter and antimatter were created in almost equal amounts after the Big Bang. But the visible universe now seems to be made entirely out of matter. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics used particle accelerators at the CERN laboratory of Geneva to synthesize exotic atoms containing antimatter particles. One of these is antiprotonic helium, which consists of an antiproton and electron orbiting a helium nucleus. Lasers were used to precisely study its properties and explore the fundamental symmetries between matter and antimatter. more

A Phonon Laser

Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics Herrmann, Maximilian; Vahala, Kerry; Knünz, Sebastian; Batteiger, Valentin; Saathoff, Guido; Udem, Thomas; Hänsch, Theodor W.
For decades physicists have been trying to realize a so-called phonon laser, a device that represents a mechanical analogue to an optical laser. It operates based on quantized oscillations (phonons) as opposed to quantized light (photons). This has now been demonstrated for the first time using a single, trapped ion. The crucial ingredient was a blue-detuned laser beam that serves as an energy source for the ion’s motion. Moreover, it could be shown that the phonon laser is a promising system for the detection of ultra-weak forces. more
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