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Originally posted by Anonymous ATS
The second law of thermodynamics is not really a law, it is an observation of the statistical behavior of a large collection of microscopic objects.
Consider the law applied to a pool table, where all the pockets have barriers that bounce the balls back instead of into the pocket. And the pool table has zero friction and zero air resistance, so the balls keep colliding nearly forever, with individual speeds and energies that vary from zero to (rarely) nearly all the kinetic energy of all the balls into one.
The laser here is like a force field. If the atom has enough energy, its kinetic energy lets it penetrate the barrier. The average energy of the pool balls goes down. So energy is not created nor destroyed.
Entropy is simply reversed in this situation. All the excuses in the world are not going to change that face... Worshipers of this law are simply going to find another false idol to worship.
Normally, collecting a gas into a smaller volume ends up increasing the gas’s temperature, while letting the gas expand lowers it. But the laser barrier stuffs the gas into a smaller volume with only a minute increase in its temperature, Daniel Steck of the University of Oregon in Eugene and his colleagues report in the June 20 Physical Review Letters.
Researchers could then let it expand and get colder than the temperature at which it started, even approaching temperatures just above absolute zero.