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Atoms, Molecules, and Light: AMO Science Enabling the Future ATOMS, MOLECULES, AND LIGHT AMO SCIENCE ENABLING THE FUTURE COMMITTEE FOR AN UPDATED ASSESSMENT OF ATOMIC, MOLECULAR, AND OPTICAL SCIENCE BOARD ON PHYSICS AND ASTRONOMY DIVISION ON ENGINEERING AND PHYSICAL SCIENCES NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu
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Atoms, Molecules, and Light: AMO Science Enabling the Future THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This project was supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant PHY 98-12262 and the Department of Energy under Contract No. DE-FG02-94ER-14451. Cover: NIST physicist Kris Helmerson looks at a cloud of laser-cooled sodium atoms (the small, bright yellow dot at the center of the photo) that have been trapped by a combination of laser beams and magnetic fields. The atoms, levitated in a vacuum by this magneto-optical trap, have a temperature less than a thousandth of a degree above absolute zero, yet they remain in the gas phase. Copies of this report are available from: Board on Physics and Astronomy National Research Council 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 www.nationalacademies.org/bpa Copyright 2002 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America
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Atoms, Molecules, and Light: AMO Science Enabling the Future THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org
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Atoms, Molecules, and Light: AMO Science Enabling the Future COMMITTEE FOR AN UPDATED ASSESSMENT OF ATOMIC, MOLECULAR, AND OPTICAL SCIENCE C. KUMAR PATEL, University of California, Los Angeles, Chair WENDELL T. HILL III, University of Maryland, Vice Chair PHILIP H. BUCKSBAUM, University of Michigan WOLFGANG KETTERLE, Massachusetts Institute of Technology KATE KIRBY, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics DANIEL KLEPPNER, Massachusetts Institute of Technology PIERRE MEYSTRE, University of Arizona WILLIAM E. MOERNER, Stanford University MARGARET M. MURNANE, JILA/University of Colorado at Boulder WILLIAM D. PHILLIPS, National Institute of Standards and Technology RICHART E. SLUSHER, Lucent Technologies, Bell Labs DONALD C. SHAPERO, Director MICHAEL H. MOLONEY, Program Officer (after November 2001) ACHILLES D. SPELIOTOPOULOS, Program Officer (July 2000-November 2001) JOEL PARRIOTT, Program Officer (October 1999-July 2000) KEVIN D. AYLESWORTH, Program Officer (February 1999-October 1999) CYRA A. CHOUDHURY, Senior Project Associate NELSON QUIÑONES, Project Assistant BOARD ON PHYSICS AND ASTRONOMY JOHN P. HUCHRA, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Chair ROBERT C. RICHARDSON, Cornell University, Vice Chair JONATHAN BAGGER, Johns Hopkins University GORDON A. BAYM, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign CLAUDE R. CANIZARES, Massachusetts Institute of Technology WILLIAM EATON, National Institutes of Health WENDY FREEDMAN, Carnegie Observatories FRANCES HELLMAN, University of California, San Diego KATHRYN LEVIN, University of Chicago CHUAN SHENG LIU, University of Maryland LINDA J. (LEE) MAGID, University of Tennessee at Knoxville THOMAS M. O’NEIL, University of California, San Diego JULIA M. PHILLIPS, Sandia National Laboratories BURTON RICHTER, Stanford University ANNEILA I. SARGENT, California Institute of Technology JOSEPH H. TAYLOR, JR., Princeton University CARL E. WIEMAN, JILA/University of Colorado at Boulder DONALD C. SHAPERO, Director JOEL PARRIOTT, Senior Program Officer MICHAEL H. MOLONEY, Program Officer PAMELA LEWIS, Project Associate NELSON QUIÑONES, Project Assistant
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Atoms, Molecules, and Light: AMO Science Enabling the Future Preface With the publication in 1994 of Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Science: An Investment in the Future (the FAMOS report), the National Research Council launched the series Physics in a New Era, its latest survey of physics. Each of the six area volumes in the survey focuses on a different subfield of physics, describing advances since the last decadal survey and suggesting future opportunities and directions. This survey culminated in 2001 with the publication of the seventh and final volume, Physics in a New Era: An Overview. Since the publication of the FAMOS report, the developments in atomic, molecular, and optical (AMO) science have been amazing. Significant advances in areas such as cooling and trapping, atom and quantum optics, single-atom and single-molecule detection, and ultrafast and ultraintense phenomena, along with the emergence of new applications, made it clear that an update of the FAMOS report was needed. With support from the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy, the Committee for an Updated Assessment of Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Science was formed. The committee’s statement of task reads as follows: The committee will prepare a narrative document that portrays the advances in AMO science and its impact on society. The report will: Highlight selected forefront areas of AMO science, emphasizing recent accomplishments and new opportunities. Identify connections between AMO science and other scientific fields, emerging technologies, and national needs. Describe career opportunities for AMO scientists. To accomplish its task and at the same time reach a broad audience, the committee decided to present its report in the form of a brochure highlighting selected advances, connections, and impacts on national needs. An exhaustive assessment of the field, which will fall within the purview of the next decadal survey, was not the goal of the update. The committee would like to express its gratitude for the informative interactions it had with many scientists and policy makers. Many colleagues completed a questionnaire and suggested topics to be included in this report. The final selection of topics was made in accordance with the criteria set forth in the statement of task. While this report was still being written, the tragic events of September 11, 2001, occurred. AMO science and its applications have already played and will continue to play a central role in our nation’s response to terrorist threats from conventional as well as chemical or biological weapons. Some of the technology discussed in this report in the chapter “AMO Science Enhancing National Defense” was used successfully for the U.S. military response in Afghanistan—the Global Positioning System (GPS) and laser-guided munitions are just two examples. AMO science will also enable the development of early detection techniques that will help to neutralize the threat from biological and chemical agents.
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Atoms, Molecules, and Light: AMO Science Enabling the Future This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Thomas Appelquist,Yale University; William Bialek, Princeton University; Ronald Cohen, University of California, Berkeley; Thomas Gallagher, University of Virginia; John Goldsmith, Sandia National Laboratories; Erich Ippen, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Neal Lane, Rice University; Cherry Ann Murray, Lucent Technologies; and Richard Powell, University of Arizona. Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Lloyd Armstrong, University of Southern California. Appointed by the National Research Council, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of the report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.
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Atoms, Molecules, and Light: AMO Science Enabling the Future Contents Introduction 1 AMO Science Impacting the Economy 7 AMO Science Improving Health 13 AMO Science Protecting the Environment 21 AMO Science Enhancing National Defense 29 AMO Science Expanding the Frontiers 35 Epilog 43
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Atoms, Molecules, and Light: AMO Science Enabling the Future Townes and Gordon with one of their first masers (1954). A CO2-laser-based automobile body welding station (2001).