Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Physicists study coldest objects in universe

Date:
November 27, 2013
Source:
Institute of Physics
Summary:
In a new study, a group of researchers has come up with a new way of measuring BECs by using a filter to cancel out the damage caused by the streams of light that are typically used to measure them. Some of these BECs are the coldest objects in the universe, and are so fragile that even a single photon can heat and destroy them.

Known as Bose-Einstein condensates (BECs) and consisting of just a cluster of atoms, it has up until now been impossible to measure and control these remarkable forms of matter simultaneously.
Credit: Institute of Physics

In a new study published today in the Institute of Physics and German Physical Society's New Journal of Physics, a group of researchers from the UK and Australia have come up with a new way of measuring BECs by using a filter to cancel out the damage caused by the streams of light that are typically used to measure them.

Related Articles


Not only can the filter create a best estimate of the state of BECs by removing "noise" from the measurements, it can also use these measurements to actively feedback to the BECs and remove some of the heating based on what has already been observed.

It is hoped that once this theory is realized experimentally, researchers will be able to gather much more information about BECs and extend their use in fundamental science, such as in atom lasers to precisely measure gravity and as models to study the emission of Hawking radiation from black holes.

In the future, they may also be used by the military to detect submarines, underground bunkers and threats, and to also see through stealth technology.

Lead author of the study Michael Hush, from the University of Nottingham, said: "It's like trying to check if your refrigerator is still working but not wanting to let cold air out by opening the door.

"The smallest amount of heat can destroy a BEC and many of even the most up-to-date imaging devices end up destroying the BEC after a single image. Experimentalists have demonstrated that a BEC can be imaged non-destructively for a limited amount of time, but our work will allow them to be imaged for much, much longer -- potentially indefinitely."

BECs are a cluster of atoms that are cooled until they are only 100 nano-Kelvin above absolute zero. At this temperature, the atoms lose their individual identity and behave as one macroscopic entity, almost like a superatom.

Because BECs are extremely cold, they have very little "noise" associated with them, so they are ideal for investigating physics that involves atoms -- such as probing atomic structure -- because they will exhibit very little interference.

The best way of measuring a BEC is to use off-resonant light, which tends to bounce off the atoms instead of being absorbed and thrown back out -- this happens when resonant light is used. Off-resonant light has a very different wavelength to the one that would naturally be absorbed and emitted by the atoms, so it doesn't disturb the BEC as much as resonant light and makes it much easier to measure.

Off-resonant light can cause some spontaneous-emission, however, which induces heating and can destroy a BEC, so the researchers developed a filter and feedback to control this heating effect, resulting in a net cooling of the BEC.

Hush continued: "We've essentially created a window to look into the world's coldest fridge. By peering through this window, we hope that scientists can potentially view previously inaccessible phenomena related to BECs and begin to realise their potential applications."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Institute of Physics. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. M R Hush, S S Szigeti, A R R Carvalho, J J Hope. Controlling spontaneous-emission noise in measurement-based feedback cooling of a Bose–Einstein condensate. New Journal of Physics, 2013; 15 (11): 113060 DOI: 10.1088/1367-2630/15/11/113060

Cite This Page:

Institute of Physics. "Physicists study coldest objects in universe." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131127225443.htm>.
Institute of Physics. (2013, November 27). Physicists study coldest objects in universe. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131127225443.htm
Institute of Physics. "Physicists study coldest objects in universe." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131127225443.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
3D Printed Cookies Just in Time for Christmas

3D Printed Cookies Just in Time for Christmas

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) A tech company in Spain have combined technology with cuisine to develop the 'Foodini', a 3D printer designed to print the perfect cookie for Santa. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ford Expands Air Bag Recall Nationwide

Ford Expands Air Bag Recall Nationwide

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) The automaker added 447,000 vehicles to its recall list, bringing the total to more than 502,000. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Sony Hopes To Make Any Glasses 'Smart'

How Sony Hopes To Make Any Glasses 'Smart'

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Sony's glasses module attaches to the temples of various eye- and sunglasses to add a display and wireless connectivity. 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