Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
. 24/7 Space News .




TIME AND SPACE
WSU researchers confirm 60-year-old prediction of atomic behavior
by Staff Writers
Pullman WA (SPX) Jun 04, 2014


File image: Bose-Einstein condensate.

Researchers at Washington State University have used a super-cold cloud of atoms that behaves like a single atom to see a phenomenon predicted 60 years ago and witnessed only once since. The phenomenon takes place in the seemingly otherworldly realm of quantum physics and opens a new experimental path to potentially powerful quantum computing.

Working out of a lab in WSU's Webster Hall, physicist Peter Engels and his colleagues cooled about one million atoms of rubidium to 100 billionths of a degree above absolute zero. There was no colder place in the universe, said Engels, unless someone was doing a similar experiment elsewhere on Earth or on another planet.

At that point, the cluster of atoms formed a Bose-Einstein condensate - a rare physical state predicted by Albert Einstein and Indian theorist Satyendra Nath Bose - after undergoing a phase change similar to a gas becoming a liquid or a liquid becoming a solid. Once the atoms acted in unison, they could be induced to exhibit coherent "superradiant" behavior predicted by Princeton University physicist Robert Dicke in 1954.

"This large group of atoms does not behave like a bunch of balls in a bucket," said Engels. "It behaves as one big super-atom. Therefore it magnifies the effects of quantum mechanics."

Engels' findings appear in the journal Nature Communications. Co-author and collaborator Chuanwei Zhang, a former WSU physicist now at the University of Texas at Dallas, led the theoretical aspects of the work.

Funders include the National Science Foundation, the Army Research Office and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the cutting-edge research agency known as DARPA.

Researchers using these super-cold dilute gases have created the superradiant state in only one other situation, said Engels, using a far more complicated experiment involving coupling to photon fields. Because the coupling of atoms and photons is usually very weak, their behavior was extremely hard to observe, he said.

"What our colleague Chuanwei Zhang realized is, if you replaced the light with the motion of the particles, you got exactly the same physics," said Engels. Moreover, it's easier to observe. So while their cloud of atoms measures less than half a millimeter across, it is large enough to be photographed and measured. This gives experimenters a key tool for testing assumptions and changes in the atomic realm of quantum physics.

"We have found an implementation of the system that allows us to go in the lab and actually test the predictions of the Dicke model, and some extensions of it as well, in a system that is not nearly as complicated as people always thought it has to be for the Dicke physics," Engels said.

Ordinary physical properties change so dramatically in quantum mechanics that it can seem like a drawing by M.C. Escher. Photons can be both waves and particles. A particle can go through two spaces at the same time and, paradoxically, interfere with itself. Electrons can be oriented up or down at the same time.

This concurrent duality can be exploited by quantum computing. So where a conventional computer uses 1s and 0s to make calculations, the fundamental units of a quantum computer could be 1s and 0s at the same time. As Wired magazine recently noted, "It's a mind-bending, late-night-in-the-dorm-room concept that lets a quantum computer calculate at ridiculously fast speeds."

.


Related Links
Washington State University
Understanding Time and Space






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





TIME AND SPACE
Toronto physicists take quantum leap toward ultra-precise measurement
Toronto, Canada (SPX) Jun 03, 2014
For the first time, physicists at the University of Toronto (U of T) have overcome a major challenge in the science of measurement using quantum mechanics. Their work paves the way for great advances in using quantum states to enable the next generation of ultra-precise measurement technologies. "We've been able to conduct measurements using photons - individual particles of light - at a r ... read more


TIME AND SPACE
New evidence supporting moon formation via collision of 2 planets

NASA Missions Let Scientists See Moon's Dancing Tide From Orbit

Earth's gravitational pull stretches moon surface

Water in moon rocks provides clues and questions about lunar history

TIME AND SPACE
NASA Should Maintain Long-Term Focus on Mars as "Horizon Goal"

NASA could not deliver humans to Mars

Big Brother creators to document Mars One mission

NASA's human spaceflight program doomed to fail: study

TIME AND SPACE
NASA And Virgin Galactic Select Payloads For First Research Flight

US may lose 'star wars' to Russia

NASA Invites Universities to Submit Innovative Technology Proposals

One docking ring to rule them all

TIME AND SPACE
Chinese lunar rover alive but weak

China's Jade Rabbit moon rover 'alive but struggling'

Chinese space team survives on worm diet for 105 days

Moon rover Yutu comes closer to public

TIME AND SPACE
Russia, US resume talks on new joint projects for ISS

Russian Soyuz with New Crew Docks at ISS in Automatic Mode

Russian, German and US astronauts dock with ISS

Six-Person Station Crew Enjoys Day Off Following Docking

TIME AND SPACE
Next ATV transferred to Final Assembly Building at Kourou

Roscosmos Scolded for 'Pestering Society' with Proton Crash Theories

SpaceX unveils capsule to ferry astronauts to space

Elon Musk to present manned DragonV2 spacecraft on May 29

TIME AND SPACE
Two planets orbit nearby ancient star

First light for SPHERE exoplanet imager

Astronomers Confounded By Massive Rocky World

Astronomers find a new type of planet: The 'mega-Earth'

TIME AND SPACE
Raytheon selected to demonstrate next generation, modular radar system

Analyzing Resistance to Impacts and Improving Armor Plating

Intel's gesture control promises hands-free life at Taiwan show

A new way to make laser-like beams using 250x less power




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.