Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > Insights on quantum mechanics

This sketch shows how a quantum gas microscope hones in on individual atoms in the gas.
This sketch shows how a quantum gas microscope hones in on individual atoms in the gas.

Abstract:
Harvard physicists create simulative process to gauge unseen forces

By Steve Bradt, Harvard Staff Writer

Insights on quantum mechanics

Cambridge, MA | Posted on June 19th, 2010

For the first time, physicists at Harvard University have tracked individual atoms in a gas cooled to extreme temperatures as the particles reorganized into a crystal, a process driven by quantum mechanics. The research, described in the journal Science, opens new possibilities for particle-by-particle study and engineering of artificial quantum materials.

"Much of modern technology is driven by engineering materials with novel properties, and the bizarre world of quantum mechanics can contribute to this engineering toolbox," said Markus Greiner, an assistant professor of physics at Harvard, who led the research team. "For example, quantum materials could be used to turn heat into electricity, or in cables that transport electricity very efficiently in a power grid."

"The challenge in understanding the behavior of such materials is that although we have many ideas about how they might work, we lack the tools to verify these theories by looking at and manipulating these materials at the most basic atomic level," Greiner said. "This is the problem we have set out to tackle."

To circumvent the challenges of studying such materials, Greiner and his colleagues created an artificial quantum material, a cold gas of rubidium atoms moving in a lattice made of light. This pancake-shaped cloud, known as a Bose-Einstein condensate, allowed them to study the physics of quantum materials at a much larger scale, essentially simulating what happens in a real material.

The physicists watched individual atoms participate in a dramatic collective transition between two states of matter, similar to the transition that happens when water freezes into ice. But this transition was driven not by temperature but by the researchers' manipulation of interactions between the atoms.

"We counted the number of atoms at each site of the lattice," said co-author Waseem Bakr, a graduate student in Harvard's Department of Physics. "When the interactions between the atoms are weak, the number of atoms varies significantly in different sites due to uncertainty that is intrinsic to quantum mechanics. When we increase the interactions, these fluctuations vanish, and the atoms arrange into an almost perfect crystal."

Such a transition from a superfluid state — in which particles can move with no resistance — to an insulating Mott state — where the atoms can no longer move — was first observed by Greiner and colleagues in 2001. However, a quantum gas microscope developed last year by Greiner's group now allows observation of individual atoms as they undergo this transition.

"This microscope is a versatile tool which should be able to shed light on many other phenomena related to quantum materials, such as magnetic materials," Greiner said. "It could even be used for computations that require enormous resources on current computers."

While a simulation similar to the current experiment could, in principle, be carried out on a computer, Greiner said that such an approach would quickly become infeasible for a system with more than a few dozen atoms.

Greiner and Bakr's co-authors in Harvard's Department of Physics and at the Harvard-MIT Center for Ultracold Atoms are Amy Peng, Eric Tai, Ruichao Ma, Jonathan Simon, Jonathon Gillen, and Lode Pollet, as well as Simon Foelling of Harvard and Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich. Their work was supported by the Army Research Office, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the National Science Foundation, the Swiss National Science Foundation, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Tel: 617.495.1000

Copyright © Harvard University

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

Physics

Solid nanoparticles can deform like a liquid: Unexpected finding shows tiny particles keep their internal crystal structure while flexing like droplets October 12th, 2014

Unconventional photoconduction in an atomically thin semiconductor: New mechanism of photoconduction could lead to next-generation excitonic devices October 9th, 2014

Nanoparticles Break the Symmetry of Light October 6th, 2014

Quantum environmentalism: Putting a qubit's surroundings to good use October 2nd, 2014

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

HP Supercomputer at NREL Garners Top Honor October 19th, 2014

First Canada Excellence Research Chair gets $10 million from the federal government for oilsands research at the University of Calgary: Federal government announces prestigious research chair to study improving oil production efficiency October 19th, 2014

Superconducting circuits, simplified: New circuit design could unlock the power of experimental superconducting computer chips October 18th, 2014

QD Vision Wins Prestigious Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency October 16th, 2014

Possible Futures

Superconducting circuits, simplified: New circuit design could unlock the power of experimental superconducting computer chips October 18th, 2014

Nanocoatings Market By Product Is Expected To Reach USD 8.17 Billion By 2020: Grand View Research, Inc. October 15th, 2014

Perpetuus Carbon Group Receives Independent Verification of its Production Capacity for Graphenes at 140 Tonnes per Annum: Perpetuus Becomes the First Manufacturer in the Sector to Allow Third Party Audit October 7th, 2014

PEN Inc. Chairman Scott Rickert Announces Company Vision, Product Priorities and Management Team: Webcast Highlights the Launch of PEN October 3rd, 2014

Academic/Education

First Canada Excellence Research Chair gets $10 million from the federal government for oilsands research at the University of Calgary: Federal government announces prestigious research chair to study improving oil production efficiency October 19th, 2014

Raytheon, UMass Lowell open on-campus research institute: Industry leader’s researchers to collaborate with faculty, students to move key technologies forward through first-of-its-kind partnership October 11th, 2014

SUNY Colleges of Nanoscale Science and Engineering and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Announce Expanded Partnership October 2nd, 2014

Yale University and Leica Microsystems Partner to Establish Microscopy Center of Excellence: Yale Welcomes Scientists to Participate in Core Facility Opening and Super- Resolution Workshops October 20 Through 31, 2014 September 30th, 2014

Announcements

HP Supercomputer at NREL Garners Top Honor October 19th, 2014

First Canada Excellence Research Chair gets $10 million from the federal government for oilsands research at the University of Calgary: Federal government announces prestigious research chair to study improving oil production efficiency October 19th, 2014

Ucore's McKenzie to Deliver Presentation to Rare Earths Conference in Singapore as Highlight of Fall 2014 Marketplace Schedule October 19th, 2014

Non-Toxic Nanocatalysts Open New Window for Significant Decrease in Reaction Process October 19th, 2014

Tools

New Grand ARM Transmission Electron Microscope Offers Highest Commercially-Available Atomic Resolution of 63 Picometers October 17th, 2014

Nanodevices for clinical diagnostic with potential for the international market: The development is based on optical principles and provides precision and allows saving vital time for the patient October 15th, 2014

Nanotronics Imaging Releases nSPEC® 3D, Powerful Microscope That Captures 3D Images at Nanoscale, in Lightning Speed: Company Unveils Design at American Chemical Society 2014 International Elastomer Conference October 14th, 2014

Unique catalysts for hydrogen fuel cells synthesized in ordinary kitchen microwave oven October 14th, 2014

Research partnerships

IRLYNX and CEA-Leti to Streamline New CMOS-based Infrared Sensing Modules Dedicated to Human-activities Characterization October 15th, 2014

Scientists Map Key Moment in Assembly of DNA-Splitting Molecular Machine: Crucial steps and surprising structures revealed in the genesis of the enzyme that divides the DNA double helix during cell replication October 15th, 2014

Unique catalysts for hydrogen fuel cells synthesized in ordinary kitchen microwave oven October 14th, 2014

Bio-inspired 'nano-cocoons' offer targeted drug delivery against cancer cells October 14th, 2014

Quantum nanoscience

NIST quantum probe enhances electric field measurements October 8th, 2014

Quantum environmentalism: Putting a qubit's surroundings to good use October 2nd, 2014

Rice launches Center for Quantum Materials: RCQM will immerse global visitors in cross-disciplinary research September 30th, 2014

Big Results Require Big Ambitions: Three young UCSB faculty receive CAREER awards from the National Science Foundation September 18th, 2014

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE





  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More














ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE