Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

First Observation Of A New Quantum Gas

Date:
September 10, 1999
Source:
Office Of Naval Research
Summary:
Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and the University of Colorado at Boulder report the achievement of the first Fermi degenerate gas of atoms. In such a gas the atoms behave like waves.

ONR-supported researchers Deborah Jin of the National Institute of Standards and Technology and Brian DeMarco of the University of Colorado at Boulder and JILA -- a joint research institute of NIST and CU -- report in the Sept. 9 issue of Science the achievement of the first Fermi degenerate gas of atoms. In such a gas the atoms behave like waves.

"Not only is this work significant for its impact on future atomic clocks, but it can provide the physics for new classes of electronic devices as well," said ONR Program Officer Peter Reynolds, who sponsored the work.

Similar to experiments performed in 1995 that first created another new state of matter -- the Bose-Einstein condensate -- the JILA group cooled a gas of potassium atoms to ultralow temperatures where the quantum nature of the gas is dominant. However, while the Bose-Einstein experiments used one class of quantum particles known as bosons, the JILA group cooled atoms that are fermions, the other class of quantum particles found in nature. Using laser cooling and magnetic confinement, they cooled about a million potassium atoms to temperatures near 300 nanoKelvin, or less than 1/3 of a millionth of a degree above absolute zero, where the gas became "quantum degenerate."

When a cooled gas reaches quantum degeneracy, each atom stops behaving as a point-like particle and instead behaves like a wave, with the wavelength of each atom overlapping those of neighboring atoms. When bosonic atoms reach this regime they all fall in step with each other, resulting in a Bose-Einstein condensate or "super-atom." When the JILA group cooled fermionic atoms to quantum degeneracy, they instead found, as predicted, that the atoms began to avoid each other, resulting in an "excess" energy in the gas.

Study of this new system will lead to a greater understanding of fermions, which are important throughout physics as the basic building blocks of matter -- electrons, protons, and neutrons -- are all fermions. In addition, the special properties of fermionic atoms could lead to improved atomic clock technology, an area of great interest to the Navy which has the Master Clock at the US Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C. Work will also explore the possibility of achieving a fermionic superfluid state in the gas, which could ultimately shed light on the physics of superconductivity.

"The creation of a degenerate Fermi gas is a major scientific achievement and a lot of scientists have been trying to make it ever since we created the Bose-Einstein condensate," said Carl Wieman, CU-Boulder physics professor and co-creator of the first Bose-Einstein condensate in 1995 with NIST's Eric Cornell. "It will probably be at the top of the list of important physics news for this year." Both Wieman and Cornell were funded by ONR for the work leading to the creation of the Bose-Einstein condensate.

Authors of the Science paper are Deborah Jin and Brian DeMarco. Jin, a NIST physicist, is an associate fellow of JILA and an adjoint assistant professor of physics at CU-Boulder. DeMarco is a graduate student in the CU-Boulder department of physics. In addition to ONR and NIST, this work is supported by the National Science Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Office Of Naval Research. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Office Of Naval Research. "First Observation Of A New Quantum Gas." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 September 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/09/990910080853.htm>.
Office Of Naval Research. (1999, September 10). First Observation Of A New Quantum Gas. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/09/990910080853.htm
Office Of Naval Research. "First Observation Of A New Quantum Gas." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/09/990910080853.htm (accessed August 27, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Australian Airlines Relax Phone Ban Too

Australian Airlines Relax Phone Ban Too

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 26, 2014) Qantas and Virgin say passengers can use their smartphones and tablets throughout flights after a regulator relaxed a ban on electronic devices during take-off and landing. As Hayley Platt reports the move comes as the two domestic rivals are expected to post annual net losses later this week. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hurricane Marie Brings Big Waves to California Coast

Hurricane Marie Brings Big Waves to California Coast

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 26, 2014) Huge waves generated by Hurricane Marie hit the Southern California coast. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chinese Researchers Might Be Creating Supersonic Submarine

Chinese Researchers Might Be Creating Supersonic Submarine

Newsy (Aug. 26, 2014) Chinese researchers have expanded on Cold War-era tech and are closer to building a submarine that could reach the speed of sound. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakingviews: India Coal Strained by Supreme Court Ruling

Breakingviews: India Coal Strained by Supreme Court Ruling

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 26, 2014) An acute coal shortage is likely to be aggravated as India's supreme court declared government coal allocations illegal, says Breakingviews' Peter Thal Larsen. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins