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 Quantum optics allows us to abandon expensive lasers in spectroscopy
22.11.2017 | Lomonosov Moscow State University

nachricht Nano-watch has steady hands
22.11.2017 | University of Vienna

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: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

UCLA engineers use deep learning to reconstruct holograms and improve optical microscopy

22.11.2017 | Medical Engineering

Watching atoms move in hybrid perovskite crystals reveals clues to improving solar cells

22.11.2017 | Materials Sciences

New study points the way to therapy for rare cancer that targets the young

22.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>