Following my retirement, we have closed our company for new business.

Please do not hesitate to contact me directly, our email portal remains open and I would be delighted to hear from you and provide ongoing support or advice.

Richard Thomson

Companies represented up to the end of December 2023. Please now contact them directly.

k-Space Associates, Inc.
Phone: +1 (734) 426-7977

Phone: +49 8761 76 24 0

Friday 17 June 2011

The (smallest) force be with you

In a world generally dominated by big numbers it is great to note that the Australians are thinking small. A physics researcher, Dr Biercuk, at the University of Sydney, has won the National Measurement Institute Prize for excellence in measurement techniques by a scientist under 35. In collaboration with the US National Institute of Standards and Technology, he used trapped atomic ions as sensitive detectors of applied forces and electromagnetic fields. In so doing, the researchers were able to measure forces with extraordinary sensitivity - down to the yoctonewton (yN) level. The yoctonewton represents one septillionth of a newton (ten to the minus twenty four). Biercuk and colleagues used a device consisting of about 60 beryllium ions confined in a Penning Trap. Any movement caused by an applied force was measured with a laser. The resulting measurement of forces with sensitivity at the level of 390 yoctonewtons with just one second of measurement eclipsed the previous record by three orders of magnitude.

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