Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

From Matter Waves To A Crystal Of Atoms And Back

Date:
January 11, 2002
Source:
Max Planck Society
Summary:
Researchers at the Max-Planck-Institute for Quantum Optics in Garching and at the Ludwig-Maximilians University of Munich have observed a phase transition between two dramatically different states of matter close to temperatures of absolute zero.

Researchers at the Max-Planck-Institute for Quantum Optics in Garching and at the Ludwig-Maximilians University of Munich have observed a phase transition between two dramatically different states of matter close to temperatures of absolute zero.

Related Articles


With the recent award of the Nobel Prize in physics, the spectacular work on Bose-Einstein condensation in a dilute gas of atoms has been honoured. In such a Bose-Einstein condensate, close to temperatures of absolute zero, the atoms loose their individuality and a wave-like state of matter is created that can be compared in many ways to laser light. Based on such a Bose-Einstein condensate researchers in Munich together with a colleague from the ETH Zurich have now been able to reach a new state of matter in atomic physics. In order to reach this new phase for ultracold atoms, the scientists store a Bose-Einstein condensate in a three-dimensional lattice of microscopic light traps. By increasing the strength of the lattice, the researchers are able to dramatically alter the properties of the gas of atoms and can induce a quantum phase transition from the superfluid phase of a Bose-Einstein condensate to a Mott insulator phase. In this new state of matter it should now be possible to investigate fundamental problems of solid-state physics, quantum optics and atomic physics.

For a weak optical lattice the atoms form a superfluid phase of a Bose-Einstein condensate. In this phase, each atom is spread out over the entire lattice in a wave-like manner as predicted by quantum mechanics. The gas of atoms may then move freely through the lattice. For a strong optical lattice the researchers observe a transition to an insulating phase, with an exact number of atoms at each lattice site. Now the movement of the atoms through the lattice is blocked due to the repulsive interactions between them. The physicists Markus Greiner, Olaf Mandel, Tilman Esslinger, Theodor W. Hδnsch and Immanuel Bloch have been able to show that it is possible to reversibly cross the phase transition between these two states of matter. The transition is called a quantum phase transition because it is driven by quantum fluctuations and can take place even at temperatures of absolute zero. These quantum fluctuations are a direct consequence of Heisenberg's uncertainty relation. Normally phase transitions are driven by thermal fluctuations, which are absent at zero temperature.

With their experiment, the researchers in Munich have been able to enter a new phase in the physics of ultracold atoms. In the Mott insulator state the atoms can no longer be described by the highly successful theories for Bose-Einstein condensates. Now theories are required that take into account the dominating interactions between the atoms and which are far less understood. Here the Mott insulator state may help in solving fundamental questions of strongly correlated systems, which e.g. are the basis for our understanding of superconductivity. Furthermore the Mott insulator state opens many exciting perspectives for precision matter-wave interferometry and quantum computing.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Max Planck Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Max Planck Society. "From Matter Waves To A Crystal Of Atoms And Back." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 January 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/01/020107075439.htm>.
Max Planck Society. (2002, January 11). From Matter Waves To A Crystal Of Atoms And Back. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/01/020107075439.htm
Max Planck Society. "From Matter Waves To A Crystal Of Atoms And Back." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/01/020107075439.htm (accessed November 26, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Who Will Failed Nuclear Talks Hurt Most?

Who Will Failed Nuclear Talks Hurt Most?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Nov. 25, 2014) — With no immediate prospect of sanctions relief for Iran, and no solid progress in negotiations with the West over the country's nuclear programme, Ciara Lee asks why talks have still not produced results and what a resolution would mean for both parties. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flying Enthusiast Converts Real-Life Aircraft Cockpit Into Simulator

Flying Enthusiast Converts Real-Life Aircraft Cockpit Into Simulator

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 25, 2014) — A virtual flying enthusiast converts parts of a written-off Airbus aircraft into a working flight simulator in his northern Slovenian home. Jim Drury reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Car Park Solution for Flexible Green Energy

Car Park Solution for Flexible Green Energy

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) — A British solar power start-up says that by covering millions of existing car park spaces around the UK with flexible solar panels, the country's power problems could be solved. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Microsoft Adds Robot Guards, Ushers In Sci-Fi Apocalypse

Microsoft Adds Robot Guards, Ushers In Sci-Fi Apocalypse

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) — Microsoft has robotic security guards working at its Silicon Valley Campus. Video provided by Newsy
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

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