Efficient isotope separation by single-photon atomic sorting

M. Jerkins*, I. Chavez, U. Even, M. G. Raizen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


We propose a general and scalable approach to isotope separation. The method is based on an irreversible change of the mass-to-magnetic moment ratio of a particular isotope in an atomic beam, followed by a magnetic multipole whose gradients deflect and guide the atoms. The underlying mechanism is a reduction of the entropy of the beam by the information of a single scattered photon for each atom that is separated. We numerically simulate isotope separation for a range of examples, which demonstrate this technique's general applicability to almost the entire periodic table. The practical importance of the proposed method is that large-scale isotope separation should be possible, using ordinary inexpensive magnets and the existing technologies of supersonic beams and lasers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number033414
JournalPhysical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 15 Sep 2010


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