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Scientists capture the shadow cast by a single atom

A team of researchers at Griffith University has managed to stretch the capabilities of microscopy to its ultimate limit. Culminating a five-years effort, the scientists have obtained a digital image of the shadow cast by a single atom, in a development that might soon lead to important advances in scientific observations ranging from the very big to the very small.

Holding an atom in place long enough to take its picture has been within our technological grasp for some time. This is done by isolating the atom inside a chamber and holding it still through electrical forces, a method known as a radiofrequency Paul Trap (named after Wolfgang Paul, who shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1989 for this work).
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