Unexpected Action of Atom Clouds Questions Existing Theories

Atom Clouds

Atoms on being cooled down to zero temperature change properties completely. In an ultra-cold state, atoms can turn into a Bose-Einstein-Condensate and can lose their individuality to be described collectively as a solitary quantum object.

Clusters of ultra-cold atoms or Atom Clouds have been the subject of study at TU Wien for years. They make for an ideal model system to find answers for fundamental questions of numerous-particle quantum physics. A team of researchers at Institute of Atomic and Subatomic Physics at TU Wien have discovered remarkable results that are inexplicable using existing theories. Two ultra-cold quantum gases on being coupled synchronize spontaneously and oscillate in perfect unison in a matter of few milliseconds. This implies textbook theories pertaining to Bose-Einstein-Condensates need to be revisited. The findings have been published in Physics Review Letters journal.

Study Involved Use of Specially Crafted Apparatus

For the study, researchers used a specially created atom chip to cool the temperature of atoms and modify their properties. The chip can catch a vast number of atoms and influence their collective properties using electromagnetic fields.

To begin with, a cluster of atoms or Atom Clouds is cooled to a temperature of few nanokelvins. Following this, the atom chip is used to create a barrier to separate the cluster into two parts. The barrier if it low enough allows the atoms to pass from one side to the other by means of an effect called quantum tunneling. As such, the two cluster of atoms are coupled, they are not independent.

As per theory of quantum physics, each and every object can be described as a wave.

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