Laser cooling and electromagnetic trapping of atoms

The new field of laser control of atomic motion, spanning optics, statistical mechanics, and atomic physics, is developing at a very rapid rate. Its status was defined last year at a summer school organized by Stig Stenholm of the Research Institute for Theoretical Physics in Helsinki, Finland. About 80 scientists met to discuss the present and future of laser cooling and trapping of atoms. (This is a subject with a meager past—there were no laser cooling experiments before 1978.) The following report is both a brief review of the status of the field, based on the summer school, and a summary of more recent developments.

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