Recent work has shown that it is possible to transport atoms along hollow core optical fibres using suitable light beams coupled into the fibres. These 'atom hosepipes' open up the possibility of precisely manipulating and positioning atomic beams and samples. This paves the way for transporting atoms to 'cleaner' vacuum systems for precision measurements and also for novel studies of wave-particle duality. This article discusses the physical principles behind this technique and also reviews some of the most recent experiments in this field. Future prospects, including the transport of cold atoms, are also discussed.
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