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Picture of a Single Atom

 
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Saul



Joined: 31 Jan 2011
Posts: 1253
Location: Naperville, IL USA

PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 10:08 pm    Post subject: Picture of a Single Atom Reply with quote

https://petapixel.com/2018/02/12/picture-single-atom-wins-science-photo-contest/
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Saul
Studio, horizontal and field setups
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rjlittlefield
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Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 19400
Location: Richland, Washington State, USA

PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 11:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fascinating!

Quoting from the article:
Quote:
“The idea of being able to see a single atom with the naked eye had struck me as a wonderfully direct and visceral bridge between the miniscule quantum world and our macroscopic reality,” Nadlinger tells EPSRC. “A back-of-the-envelope calculation showed the numbers to be on my side, and when I set off to the lab with camera and tripods one quiet Sunday afternoon, I was rewarded with this particular picture of a small, pale blue dot.”

The photo was captured on August 7th, 2017, using a Canon 5D Mark II DSLR, a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 lens, extension tubes, and two flash units with color gels.

Shooting a single atom with that equipment, who would have guessed!?

Of course we're talking here about detection, not resolution. They are completely different issues!

--Rik
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Pau
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Joined: 20 Jan 2010
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Location: Valencia, Spain

PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 4:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Of course we're talking here about detection, not resolution. They are completely different issues!

Sure!
You can't resolve a star (Sun aside) even with the best optical telescopes, but you can see lots of them like points of light with the naked eye
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mawyatt



Joined: 22 Aug 2013
Posts: 1672
Location: Clearwater

PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 7:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Saul,

Amazing!! I've seen SEM of single atoms, but this is truly amazing with an ordinary DSLR!!!

Thanks for posting,

Best,
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MarkSturtevant



Joined: 21 Nov 2015
Posts: 389

PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lets see if I understand it correctly: The atom was induced to emit photons after excitation, and this is I suppose resolved to a single pixel in the picture.
If that is about right, I think the atom is a lot smaller than the area of that pixel, but this way of showing its presence is pretty clever.
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Mark Sturtevant
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Pau
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Joined: 20 Jan 2010
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 9:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark, you're right, the key of the experiment is to have the atom in a static position while exciting it, so it can emit lots of photons from the very same point
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rjlittlefield
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Joined: 01 Aug 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 11:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's an interesting question just how "static" the atom's position is in this apparatus.

As I understand the setup, the charged atom is held suspended by some sort of dynamic process that periodically compensates for drift from whatever cause. What's being imaged is actually the time-averaged ensemble of all those places that the atom was located when it emitted a photon. I would be surprised if the effective size of that ensemble is not hugely larger than the dimension of the atom itself.

--Rik
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