Focusing Neutral Atoms
In recent work, our group has studied the use of laser ablation to produce focused beams of neutral atoms. Laser ablation has been investigated as a method of producing cold, high density beams of refractory elements (those elements that do not readily vaporize). Typically, a laser incident on a slab of material causes a thin layer to sublimate. Studies of the beams produced by this method are complicated by changes in surface characteristics caused by the removal of particles from the material.
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