The photo was taken by physicist David Neidlinger from Oxford University. She was awarded the main award. To win it, the scientist had to work hard on visualizing a particle previously inaccessible to scientists. A positively charged strontium atom is fixed between two metal needles. The distance between them is about 2 mm, and the atom itself is illuminated by a blue-violet laser. Thanks to this, the atom emits photons - they were captured using a long exposure. The installation was located in a vacuum and was subjected to ultra-low temperatures, which made it possible to make the atom stationary.
"The idea of seeing a single atom with the naked eye seemed to me a wonderful bridge between the tiny quantum world and our macroscopic reality," David Nadlinger shares his impressions.
Note that the technology described above for obtaining images of the strontium atom allows physicists to study the properties of the quantum world and opens the door to the world of quantum computers.