While scientists have been able to nudge the spins of atoms in the past, this new achievement, detailed in the June 6 issue of the journal Nature, is the first time they've done it in a strange chilled gas called a Bose-Einstein condensate.
The researchers say the finding may also be a step toward spintronics, or electronic circuits that use an electron's spin instead of its charge to carry information.
The research team, from the Joint Quantum Institute, the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) and the University of Maryland, used several lasers to trap rubidium atoms in a vacuum chamber.
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