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Woman in safety goggles handles an instrument with a thin metal tube at the end.
Credit: Courtesy of Megan Harries

Megan Harries with PLOT-cryo #2

The PLOT-cryo device can be used to detect very low concentrations of airborne chemicals such as those that might signal the presence of spoiled food, clandestine graves, and chemicals in fire debris that might show evidence of arson.

Man with dark hair, light blue shirt and laser safety glasses on the left is using his left hand to touch a device on the middle level of a three-level table covered with optics and other black and silver equipment
Credit: J. Burrus/NIST

Adam Kaufman in lab

JILA/NIST physicist Adam Kaufman adjusts the setup for a laser that controls and cools the strontium atoms in the optical tweezer clock. The atoms are trapped individually by 10 tweezers — laser light focused into tiny spots — inside the square orange container behind Kaufman’s hand.