Research

The Optical Atom

A spherical water droplet.

Researchers applied a quantum mechanical technique to study an evaporating drop in extreme detail. The team trapped a spherical water drop and collected the light scattered off it as it evaporated. Using an analytic technique originally developed for an atom, they were able to study changes in the drop down to the nanometric level without relying on numerical simulations to interpret the results. The authors suggest that their method is well-suited to studying the concentration of chemical or biological contaminants on the surface of a drop as it evaporates. (Image credit: droplet – Z. Kaiyv, Fano combs – J. Marmolejo et al.; research credit: J. Marmolejo et al.; via APS Physics)

Illustration of the Fano combs seen by analyzing light scattered from an evaporating drop.
Illustration of the Fano combs seen by analyzing light scattered from an evaporating drop.
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