Ultracold quantum gases have exceptional properties and offer an ideal system to study basic physical phenomena. By choosing erbium, the research team led by Francesca Ferlaino from the Institute of Experimental Physics, University of Innsbruck, selected a very exotic element, which due to its particular properties offers new and fascinating possibilities to investigate fundamental questions in quantum physics.
“Erbium is comparatively heavy and has a strongly magnetic character. These properties lead to an extreme dipolar behavior of quantum systems,” says Ferlaino. Together with her research group, she found a surprisingly simple way to deeply cool this complex element by means of laser and evaporative cooling techniques. At temperatures close to absolute zero, a cloud of about 70,000 erbium atoms forms a magnetic Bose-Einstein condensate. In a condensate, the particles lose their individual properties and synchronize their behavior.
“Experiments with erbium enable us to gain new insights into the complex interaction processes of strongly correlated systems and, in particular, they offer new starting points to study quantum magnetism with cold atoms,” says Francesca Ferlaino. The young scientist was awarded the Austrian START prize in 2009 and she received an ERC (European Research Council) Starting Grant in 2010.
“With attaining the Bose-Einstein condensate barely a year after we started, we have already achieved one of the most important goals of the project,” says a proud Francesca Ferlaino. “This shows the importance of grants for young scientists and how crucial the support from the University of Innsbruck and the Institute for Experimental Physics has been for me and my team.” Also Nobel laureate Eric Cornell congratulated the Innsbruck researchers: “Lovely new baby. Its parents must be very proud!”
Quantum capital Innsbruck adds another superlative
Cesium, strontium and erbium are the three chemical elements that the physicists in Innsbruck have condensated successfully in the last few years. An important breakthrough was made by Rudolf Grimm and his research group in 2002 when they achieved condensation of cesium, which led to numerous scientific findings in the years to follow. START awardee Florian Schreck, a member of Rudolf Grimm’s research group, was the first to realize a condensate of strontium in 2009. And now Francesca Ferlaino accomplished this feat with the element erbium.
Until now a total of 13 elements have been condensated worldwide. Ten of these condensates were created by ten different international research groups. In 2001 Eric Cornell, Wolfgang Ketterle and Carl Wieman were awarded the Nobel Prize in physics for producing the first Bose-Einstein condensates. The new condensate of erbium, now produced for the first time in Innsbruck, is an excellent model system for miming fascinating effects arising from long-range interaction. This type of interaction is, for instance, at the basis of complex dynamics present in nature, such as occurring in geophysical vortices, in ferrofluids or in proteins while folding.Publication: Bose-Einstein Condensation of Erbium. K. Aikawa, A. Frisch, M. Mark, S. Baier, A. Rietzler, R. Grimm, F. Ferlaino. Phys. Rev. Lett. 108, 210401 (2012)
DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.108.210401, http://prl.aps.org/abstract/PRL/v108/i21/e210401
Contacts:Univ.-Prof. Dr. Francesca Ferlaino
Fusion by strong lasers
05.12.2019 | Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf
NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission explains Bennu's mysterious particle events
05.12.2019 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
With ultracold chemistry, researchers get a first look at exactly what happens during a chemical reaction
The coldest chemical reaction in the known universe took place in what appears to be a chaotic mess of lasers. The appearance deceives: Deep within that...
Abnormal scarring is a serious threat resulting in non-healing chronic wounds or fibrosis. Scars form when fibroblasts, a type of cell of connective tissue, reach wounded skin and deposit plugs of extracellular matrix. Until today, the question about the exact anatomical origin of these fibroblasts has not been answered. In order to find potential ways of influencing the scarring process, the team of Dr. Yuval Rinkevich, Group Leader for Regenerative Biology at the Institute of Lung Biology and Disease at Helmholtz Zentrum München, aimed to finally find an answer. As it was already known that all scars derive from a fibroblast lineage expressing the Engrailed-1 gene - a lineage not only present in skin, but also in fascia - the researchers intentionally tried to understand whether or not fascia might be the origin of fibroblasts.
Fibroblasts kit - ready to heal wounds
Research from a leading international expert on the health of the Great Lakes suggests that the growing intensity and scale of pollution from plastics poses serious risks to human health and will continue to have profound consequences on the ecosystem.
In an article published this month in the Journal of Waste Resources and Recycling, Gail Krantzberg, a professor in the Booth School of Engineering Practice...
Conventional light microscopes cannot distinguish structures when they are separated by a distance smaller than, roughly, the wavelength of light. Superresolution microscopy, developed since the 1980s, lifts this limitation, using fluorescent moieties. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research have now discovered that graphene nano-molecules can be used to improve this microscopy technique. These graphene nano-molecules offer a number of substantial advantages over the materials previously used, making superresolution microscopy even more versatile.
Microscopy is an important investigation method, in physics, biology, medicine, and many other sciences. However, it has one disadvantage: its resolution is...
03.12.2019 | Event News
15.11.2019 | Event News
15.11.2019 | Event News
05.12.2019 | Life Sciences
05.12.2019 | Life Sciences
05.12.2019 | Materials Sciences