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Science. 2009 Jun 26;324(5935):1699-702. doi: 10.1126/science.1175975.

Trapping molecules on a chip.

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Fritz-Haber-Institut der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, Faradayweg 4-6, D-14195 Berlin, Germany.


Magnetic trapping of atoms on chips has recently become straightforward, but analogous trapping of molecules has proved to be challenging. We demonstrated trapping of carbon monoxide molecules above a chip using direct loading from a supersonic beam. Upon arrival above the chip, the molecules are confined in tubular electric field traps approximately 20 micrometers in diameter, centered 25 micrometers above the chip, that move with the molecular beam at a velocity of several hundred meters per second. An array of these miniaturized moving traps is brought to a standstill over a distance of only a few centimeters. After a certain holding time, the molecules are accelerated off the chip again for detection. This loading and detection methodology is applicable to a wide variety of polar molecules, enabling the creation of a gas-phase molecular laboratory on a chip.

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