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Abstract The photon—the quantum excitation of the electromagnetic field—is massless but carries momentum. A photon can therefore exert a force on an object upon collision 1 . Slowing the translational motion of atoms and ions by application of such a force 2,3 , known as laser cooling, was first demonstrated 40 years ago 4,5 . It revolutionized atomic physics over the following decades 6–8 , and it is now a workhorse in many fields, including studies on quantum degenerate gases, quantum information, atomic clocks and tests of fundamental physics. However, this technique has not yet been applied to antimatter. Heremore »
At the historic Shelter Island Conference on the Foundations of Quantum Mechanics in 1947, Willis Lamb reported an unexpected feature in the fine structure of atomic hydrogen: a separation of the 2S1/2 and 2P1/2 states1. The observation of this separation, now known as the Lamb shift, marked an important event in the evolution of modern physics, inspiring others to develop the theory of quantum electrodynamics2–5. Quantum electrodynamics also describes antimatter, but it has only recently become possible to synthesize and trap atomic antimatter to probe its structure. Mirroring the historical development of quantum atomic physics in the twentieth century, modernmore »