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Laser beams normally take the shape of a dot, but by manipulating light with liquid crystals, researchers have bent one into the shape of a photo of a cat

Physics

6 May 2022

A specially sculpted laser beam created this photorealistic image of a catP. Silva and S. Muniz
Researchers have encoded a picture of a cat into a single laser beam, demonstrating a simple system that can create detailed images within a beam of light. This technique could be used to more accurately manipulate ultra-cold atoms, which are used to perform simulations of quantum effects.
To trap a cloud of ultra-cold atoms, in order to manipulate them, you have to create what physicists call a potential – essentially a box that holds the atoms in place. …

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