Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Ultracold Atoms Form Long-Lasting Waves

03.05.2002


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 you’re wondering what, exactly, such atomic soliton trains might be useful for down the road, the short answer is that it’s 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. "We’re getting our first glimpse of a wondrous and sometimes surprising set of dynamic quantum phenomena, and there’s no way to know exactly what may come of it."

Kate Wong | Scientific American

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Scientists propose synestia, a new type of planetary object
23.05.2017 | University of California - Davis

nachricht Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence
23.05.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Quantenoptik

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: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

Im Focus: Bacteria harness the lotus effect to protect themselves

Biofilms: Researchers find the causes of water-repelling properties

Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

Innovation 4.0: Shaping a humane fourth industrial revolution

17.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientists propose synestia, a new type of planetary object

23.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Zap! Graphene is bad news for bacteria

23.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Medical gamma-ray camera is now palm-sized

23.05.2017 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>