Additive manufacturing makes vacuum systems smaller, lighter and smarter

Physics World | August 01, 2019

Additive manufacturing makes vacuum systems smaller, lighter and smarter
For quantum technologies to fulfil their promise, the systems that support them need to shrink. Laurence Coles explains how advances in additive manufacturing are bringing miniaturization within reach and heralding a wider revolution in vacuum system design. If quantum technologies came with instruction manuals, the first few pages would describe how to cool and trap a sample of atoms. Clouds of cold, trapped atoms lie at the heart of present-day quantum devices such as atomic clocks. They’re also integral to several possible future ones, such as the quantum positioning systems that may one day replace satellite-based GPS. The reason is simple: it is only by isolating atoms from their environment and cooling them down, sometimes to temperatures as low as a fraction of a degree above absolute zero, that their quantum characteristics come to the fore. Properties such as the atoms’ acceleration and rotation, the timing and frequency of transitions between energy levels, and even their response to disturbances in electric, magnetic and gravitational fields can and will be exploited as part of the next generation of quantum technologies.

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These days, the world's largest car manufacturers have gathered in Frankfurt, Germany to present their newest achievements at the International Motor Show.

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These days, the world's largest car manufacturers have gathered in Frankfurt, Germany to present their newest achievements at the International Motor Show.

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