At sufficiently cold temperatures, the atoms in a gas can form what is known as a Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC), losing their individual identities and merging into a single quantum state. The phenomenon has fascinated physicists ever since gaseous BECs were created in the laboratory in 1995 (although the possiblity was first postulated some 70 years earlier), and a flurry of recent research has uncovered all kinds of remarkable condensate properties. Now researchers writing in the journal Nature have yet another discovery to add to that list. According to the report, BEC atoms trapped in a thin beam of light and forced to march single file can form atom waves that maintain a constant shape while propagating.
Image: Courtesy of Rice University
In their experiments, Randall G. Hulet of Rice University and his colleagues observed localized wave packets, or solitons, of lithium atoms traveling great distances--over a period of up to several seconds--without spreading. Caravans of up to 15 solitons were detected. The key appears to have been causing the atoms to attract one another, thus offsetting their natural tendency to disperse. Although this represents the first observed instance of so-called bright matter-wave soliton trains, localized wave bundles themselves are well known in high-speed optical communications networks, in which solitons of light enable the transfer of data across great distances without the help of signal boosters.
If youre wondering what, exactly, such atomic soliton trains might be useful for down the road, the short answer is that its difficult to say. The authors speculate, however, that precision measurement applications such as atom interferometry might benefit from an atomic soliton laser, based on solitons like the ones they observed. "Forty years ago no one imagined that lasers would be used to play music in our cars or scan our food at the grocery store checkout," Hulet muses. "Were getting our first glimpse of a wondrous and sometimes surprising set of dynamic quantum phenomena, and theres no way to know exactly what may come of it."
Kate Wong | Scientific American
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Friction stir welding is a still-young and thus often unfamiliar pressure welding process for joining flat components and semi-finished components made of light metals.
Scientists at the University of Stuttgart have now developed two new process variants that will considerably expand the areas of application for friction stir welding.
Technologie-Lizenz-Büro (TLB) GmbH supports the University of Stuttgart in patenting and marketing its innovations.
Friction stir welding is a still-young and thus often unfamiliar pressure welding process for joining flat components and semi-finished components made of...
Optical quantum computers can revolutionize computer technology. A team of researchers led by scientists from Münster University and KIT now succeeded in putting a quantum optical experimental set-up onto a chip. In doing so, they have met one of the requirements for making it possible to use photonic circuits for optical quantum computers.
Optical quantum computers are what people are pinning their hopes on for tomorrow’s computer technology – whether for tap-proof data encryption, ultrafast...
The Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP has been developing various applications for OLED microdisplays based on organic semiconductors. By integrating the capabilities of an image sensor directly into the microdisplay, eye movements can be recorded by the smart glasses and utilized for guidance and control functions, as one example. The new design will be debuted at Augmented World Expo Europe (AWE) in Berlin at Booth B25, October 18th – 19th.
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With the help of artificial intelligence, chemists from the University of Basel in Switzerland have computed the characteristics of about two million crystals made up of four chemical elements. The researchers were able to identify 90 previously unknown thermodynamically stable crystals that can be regarded as new materials. They report on their findings in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.
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For the first time, Fraunhofer IKTS shows additively manufactured hardmetal tools at WorldPM 2016 in Hamburg. Mechanical, chemical as well as a high heat resistance and extreme hardness are required from tools that are used in mechanical and automotive engineering or in plastics and building materials industry. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS in Dresden managed the production of complex hardmetal tools via 3D printing in a quality that are in no way inferior to conventionally produced high-performance tools.
Fraunhofer IKTS counts decades of proven expertise in the development of hardmetals. To date, reliable cutting, drilling, pressing and stamping tools made of...
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