Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Microscopic Structure Of Quantum Gases Made Visible: Bose-Einstein Condensate

Date:
October 22, 2008
Source:
Mainz, Universitaet
Summary:
Scientists have, for the first time, succeeded in rendering the spatial distribution of individual atoms in a Bose-Einstein condensate visible. Bose-Einstein condensates are small, ultracold gas clouds which, due to their low temperatures, can no longer be described in terms of traditional physics but must be described using the laws of quantum mechanics. The first Bose-Einstein condensates were generated in 1995 by Eric A. Cornell, Carl E. Wieman and Wolfgang Ketterle, who received the Nobel Prize in Physics for their work only six years later. Since then, these unique gas clouds, the coldest objects humans ever created, have become a global research object.

inside the high-resolution scanning electron microscope.
Credit: Foto/Copyright Quantum

Scientists at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz have, for the first time, succeeded in rendering the spatial distribution of individual atoms in a Bose-Einstein condensate visible. Bose-Einstein condensates are small, ultracold gas clouds which, due to their low temperatures, can no longer be described in terms of traditional physics but must be described using the laws of quantum mechanics.

The first Bose-Einstein condensates were generated in 1995 by Eric A. Cornell, Carl E. Wieman and Wolfgang Ketterle, who received the Nobel Prize in Physics for their work only six years later. Since then, these unique gas clouds, the coldest objects humans ever created, have become a global research object.

Physicists working with Dr Herwig Ott in the study group for quantum, atomic and neutron physics (QUANTUM) at Mainz University have now developed a new tech-nology that can be used to plot the individual atoms in a Bose-Einstein condensate. In addition, the spatial resolution achieved during plotting far exceeds any previous methods used.

The research results of the Emmy Noether Independent Junior Research Group were sponsored by the German Research Foundation (DFG).

This breakthrough was possible due to the use of a high-resolution scanning elec-tron microscope that makes use of a very fine electron beam to scan the ultracold atomic cloud, thus rendering even the smallest structures visible. "The transfer of this technology to ultracold gases was a technical risk," reports Dr Herwig Ott, head of the Emmy Noether Junior Research Group, "as two different techniques had to be combined."

Moreover, atoms and molecules move completely freely and ran-domly in gases unlike they do in solids. Another advantage of this highly advanced microscopy process is the better spatial resolution compared with optical processes where the resolution capacity is limited by the wavelength of the light used. "With a resolution of 150 nm, we are able to view these quantum objects with an accuracy that is 10 times higher than has been possible to date," explains Ott.

As electron microscopy made previously unknown parts of our world visible to the viewer, so the technology developed in Mainz has opened up unique possibilities for investigating the microscopic structure of quantum gases. The physicists in Mainz have already reached their first major milestone: They managed to make the structure of a so-called optical lattice visible. Optical lattices are interference patterns comprised of laser beams, which are shone onto the atomic cloud and force their periodic structure onto it.

This results in the creation of crystal-like formations. The interesting aspect is that the movement of the atoms in an optical lattice within a quantum gas is similar to the behavior of electrons in solid bodies. Quantum gases are thus able to simulate the physical properties of solid bodies and can therefore also contribute to answering outstanding questions in solid-state physics.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Mainz, Universitaet. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Gericke et al. High-resolution scanning electron microscopy of an ultracold quantum gas. Nature Physics, 2008; DOI: 10.1038/nphys1102

Cite This Page:

Mainz, Universitaet. "Microscopic Structure Of Quantum Gases Made Visible: Bose-Einstein Condensate." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 October 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081020095950.htm>.
Mainz, Universitaet. (2008, October 22). Microscopic Structure Of Quantum Gases Made Visible: Bose-Einstein Condensate. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081020095950.htm
Mainz, Universitaet. "Microscopic Structure Of Quantum Gases Made Visible: Bose-Einstein Condensate." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081020095950.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Thanks, Marty McFly! Hoverboards Could Be Coming In 2015

Thanks, Marty McFly! Hoverboards Could Be Coming In 2015

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) If you've ever watched "Back to the Future Part II" and wanted to get your hands on a hoverboard, well, you might soon be in luck. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robots to Fly Planes Where Humans Can't

Robots to Fly Planes Where Humans Can't

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 21, 2014) Researchers in South Korea are developing a robotic pilot that could potentially replace humans in the cockpit. Unlike drones and autopilot programs which are configured for specific aircraft, the robots' humanoid design will allow it to fly any type of plane with no additional sensors. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Graphene Paint Offers Rust-Free Future

Graphene Paint Offers Rust-Free Future

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 21, 2014) British scientists have developed a prototype graphene paint that can make coatings which are resistant to liquids, gases, and chemicals. The team says the paint could have a variety of uses, from stopping ships rusting to keeping food fresher for longer. Jim Drury reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Buzz60 (Oct. 21, 2014) Breeze, a portable breathalyzer, gets you home safely by instantly showing your blood alcohol content, and with one tap, lets you call an Uber, a cab or a friend from your contact list to pick you up. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
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