Researchers doing ultra-cold temperature physics may not have to wear parkas, but they are producing the coldest temperatures ever and exploring model quantum systems that might lead to more accurate clocks and gyroscopes, quantum computers and communications as well as a better understanding of quantum physics phenomena.
Nearly 80 years ago, Albert Einstein and Satyendra Nath Bose predicted that gases of atoms cooled down very close to absolute zero would behave in unison. In 1995, three laboratories produced such Bose-Einstein condensates and opened the door for investigation of physical properties of atoms on a very cold scale.
David S. Weiss, associate professor of physics, Penn State, described recent research in one-dimensional quantum systems at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science today (Feb. 20) in Washington, D.C. "These ultra-cold atoms can act as model systems to help us understand other quantum systems," says Weiss. "Their interactions can be calculated and controlled very accurately."
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