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ORNL_outlineSingle atoms or molecules imprisoned by laser light in a doughnut-shaped metal cage could unlock the key to advanced storage devices, computers and high-resolution instruments, according to a recent UT-ORNL study.

In a paper published in Physical Review A, a team composed of Ali Passian of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Marouane Salhi and George Siopsis of UT, describes conceptually how physicists may be able to exploit a molecule’s energy to advance a number of fields.

Salhi is a graduate students in physics and Siopsis is a professor of physics.

“A single molecule has many degrees of freedom, or ways of expressing its energy and dynamics, including vibrations, rotations and translations,” said Passian, who also is an associate professor in both physics and chemical and biomolecular engineering at UT. “For years, physicists have searched for ways to take advantage of these molecular states, including how they could be used in high-precision instruments or as an information storage device for applications such as quantum computing.”

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