Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Elusive Quasiparticles Realized

24.05.2012
In quantum physics physical processes in condensed matter and other many-body systems can often be described with quasiparticles.

In Innsbruck, for the first time Rudolf Grimm’s team of physicists has succeeded in experimentally realizing a new quasiparticle – a repulsive polaron – in an ultracold quantum gas. The scientists have published their results in the online issue of the journal Nature.


The potassium atom in the middle (blue) repulses the smaller lithium atoms (yellow). This creates a complex state, which can be described physically as a quasiparticle. In various ways it behaves like a new particle with modified properties. Graphics: Harald Ritsch

Ultracold quantum gases are an ideal experimental model system to simulate physical phenomena in condensed matter. In these gases, many-body states can be realized under highly controlled conditions and interactions between particles are highly tuneable. A research group led by Wittgenstein awardee Rudolf Grimm and START awardee Florian Schreck have now realized and comprehensively analyzed repulsive polarons for the first time. The scientists from the Institute of Quantum Optics and Quantum Information (IQOQI) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and the Institute for Experimental Physics of the University of Innsbruck are international leaders in this field of research.

Elusive partners

To realize repulsive polarons experimentally, Rudolf Grimm and his research team produce an ultracold quantum gas consisting of lithium and potassium atoms in a vacuum chamber. They control particle interaction with electromagnetic fields, and by applying radio-frequency pulses they then drive the potassium atoms into a state where they repulse the surrounding lithium atoms. This complex state can be described physically as quasiparticle because, in various ways, it behaves like a new particle with modified properties. By analyzing the whole energy spectrum of the system, the researchers were able to demonstrate repulsive polarons. “This way we were able to realize and analyze not only attractive but also repulsive polarons,” says Prof Grimm. While attractive polarons have been studied before, the quantum physicist and his team have entered a completely new scientific field with these novel repulsive quasiparticles.

Ideal observation platform

In condensed matter these quasiparticles decay very quickly, which makes it nearly impossible to study them. But also in quantum gases the repulsive properties present difficulties: “Polarons can only exist in a metastable state,“ explains Rudolf Grimm “and their lifetime is crucial for our ability to investigate them at all. We were surprised to find that our polarons showed an almost ten times increased lifetime compared to earlier experiments in similar systems. Our experimental set-up, therefore, provides an ideal platform for a detailed analysis of many-body states that rely on repulsive interactions.“ As a next step the Innsbruck researchers are going to investigate whether separate domains where only lithium or only potassium atoms accumulate are created in a quantum gas consisting of repulsive particles. “This has been suggested in theoretical models but only now we will are able to investigate it experimentally.“

The scientists have published their results in the journal Nature. The experiment was carried out in close cooperation with two theoretical physicists from Denmark and Spain and is financially supported by the Austrian Science Fund within the Special Research Program FoQuS.

Publication: Metastability and coherence of repulsive polarons in a strongly interacting Fermi mixture, Christoph Kohstall, Matteo Zaccanti, Michael Jag, Andreas Trenkwalder, Pietro Massignan, Georg M. Bruun, Florian Schreck und Rudolf Grimm. Nature 2012

http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature11065

Contacts:
Univ.-Prof. Dr. Rudolf Grimm
Institute for Experimental Physics
University of Innsbruck
phone: +43 512 507 6300
email: Rudolf.Grimm@uibk.ac.at
web: http://www.ultracold.at
Dr. Christian Flatz
Public Relations
University of Innsbruck
phone.: +43 512 507 32022
mobil: +43 676 872532022
email: Christian.Flatz@uibk.ac.at

Dr. Christian Flatz | Universität Innsbruck
Further information:
http://www.ultracold.at
http://www.uibk.ac.at

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Smooth propagation of spin waves using gold
26.06.2017 | Toyohashi University of Technology

nachricht A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL
23.06.2017 | Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Study shines light on brain cells that coordinate movement

26.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Smooth propagation of spin waves using gold

26.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Switchable DNA mini-machines store information

26.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>