Researchers have created ultracold quantum bubbles on the space station

Researchers have created ultracold quantum bubbles on the space station

In March 2018, The researchers launched the International Space Station to make it look like a white, cold refrigerator. This heavy box contains the $ 100 million facility known as the Cold Atom Laboratory, which enables a series of nuclear physics experiments at zero-G freezing temperatures in space. In this unique state, scientists have now created tiny bubbles of very cold gaseous atoms, which have been placed on the edge of the quantum physics field.

At microgravity and the lowest temperature in the universe, it would have been impossible for the Earth to achieve this potential, which is only a millionth of a degree above absolute zero. The team of physicists behind the milestone has published their new research in the journal Earth, which means everyone works from a distance. Nature Last week they showed that they had created ultracold bubbles using an experimental device that beams lasers into a sealed vacuum chamber to cool the gas atoms. They then placed magnetic fields and radio waves into hollow, egg-shaped blocks. Experimentation provides insights into quantum states, as well as applications in other areas of physics.

“It’s exciting that atoms are taking on these new forms and seeing new properties when you stop gravity,” said David Evelyn, author and co – author of the study at the Cold Atom Lab conducted by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. In Pasadena, California.

The ultracold atoms of the gas – in this case rubidium – zip around their vessels like microscopic billiard balls and they operate at normal temperatures. As the gas cools, they move more slowly and slowly, but the slower atoms do not turn into liquid or solid vapor. As they cool near absolute zero, they begin to clot together, the wavelength associated with the gas particles lengthen and begin to overlap.

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At extremely cold temperatures, the atoms begin to act strangely. They combine to form a substance with quantum properties consisting of particles and waves. Now, these are basically a quantum paradox, and are like the state of a new substance called Bose-Einstein condensate, named by Indian and German physicists over a century ago. (Technically, ultracold atoms need to be cooled to be considered Bose-Einstein condensate, but they show signs of rejection.) Can swell to a large size.

“We take the effects of clean physics, which usually occur on atomic scales, and allow them to occur on objects up to a millimeter in size, trying to visualize quantum mechanics and strange physical properties to the naked eye,” said Nathan Lundblad, a nuclear scientist at Bates College in Maine.

This research may have applications beyond the scope of quantum physics. One reason for NASA’s interest is that such operations on ultracold atoms could help develop more accurate gyroscopes and accelerometers, Evelyn said. The inflation of a bubble of ultracold atoms a fraction of a second after the Big Bang will give insights into the rapid expansion of the baby’s universe.

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