Laser-wielding physicists seize control of atoms’ behavior

Physicists have wondered in recent years if they could control how atoms interact using light. Now they know that they can, by demonstrating games of quantum billiards with unusual new rules. In an article published online Oct. 5 in Physical Review Letters, a team of University of Chicago physicists explains how to tune a laser to make atoms attract or repel each other in an exotic state of matter called a Bose-Einstein condensate.

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