Efficient isotope separation by single-photon atomic sorting

Author :M. Jerkins, I. Chavez, U. Even, and M. G. Raizen
Publication :Physical Review A
Volume :82
Number :033414
Year :2010

We propose a general and scalable approach to isotope separation. The method is based on an irreversible
change of the mass-to-magnetic moment ratio of a particular isotope in an atomic beam, followed by a magnetic
multipole whose gradients deflect and guide the atoms. The underlying mechanism is a reduction of the entropy
of the beam by the information of a single scattered photon for each atom that is separated. We numerically
simulate isotope separation for a range of examples, which demonstrate this technique’s general applicability
to almost the entire periodic table. The practical importance of the proposed method is that large-scale isotope
separation should be possible, using ordinary inexpensive magnets and the existing technologies of supersonic
beams and lasers.