Reception in h-bar (next to X317) at 3:30 pm
Classical mechanics predicts that a sufficiently slow-moving atom will always stick to a surface; simple quantum mechanical considerations however lead to the opposite conclusion: a slow-moving atom will never stick to a surface. Fortunately, our experimental control of ultracold atoms has advanced to the level where a quantum theory of atomic adsorption can be tested in the lab. With current efforts to develop new quantum technologies such as chip-scale atomic clocks, quantum computers, and high-precision nanoscale sensors, there is renewed interest in the quantum mechanics of ultracold atoms near surfaces. Our current understanding of ultracold atomic adsorption will be discussed. The parallels between quantum adsorption and radiative processes in quantum electrodynamics will be emphasized.