Visualizing an electron with a ruler

Lecture: Using laser levitation to see a single electron with the naked eye!

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Sjöfartsmuseet Akvariet

16:30 - 17:15, tor. 20 apr.



The quantum world is the world of the small – the REALLY small! More than 100 years ago, Robert Millikan used hundreds of tiny, charged droplets to show us that an electric charge (+ or -) had an indivisible particle – one electron or proton. But, he still couldn’t SEE the electron. We have now re-created Millikan’s experiment using just a single droplet levitated with a laser!

As we added charges to the droplet, we saw the droplet jump vertically in quantized steps. Each step reveals individual electrons absorbed by the droplet. You can see this with your eye and can measure it with a ruler. This brings the electron, a quantum particle, to our macroscopic world!


Javier Marmolejo, physics Ph.D. student, University of Gothenburg


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