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A Bose-Einstein condensate has been produced in space for the first time

October 18, 2018 Science 1 Views Credit: CC0 Public DomainAn international research team has successfully produced a Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC)…



Credit: CC0 Public Domain

An international research team has successfully produced a Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC) in space for the first time. In its paper published in the journal Nature the group describes the creation of a small experimental device carried on a rocket in space and the experiments conducted during its freefall.

A Bose-Einstein condensate is a state of matter that occurs after very low density gas atoms are cooled to very close to zero and fills up to form an extremely dense quantum statistics. Researchers are interested in producing them so that they can test their properties &#821

1; the theory has suggested that they could serve as the basis for highly sensitive sensors. Such super sensitive sensors can be used to better understand the physics phenomena as gravity waves. However, producing Bose-Einstein condensate is tricky, because gravity interferes with devices to produce and study them. The current method means that such devices release from the tower to enable them to do their work in a zero-limit environment, but these experiments only have a few seconds in operation. By performing these experiments in space, it would be a much better option because of the microgravity environment.

Introducing the potential of a space-based platform for implementation of BEC research launched the United States Cold Atom Laboratory last May, although it is not yet fully functional. Meanwhile, with this new effort, the researchers created a small device that could produce a BEC and perform a variety of experiments on it as they embarked on a rocket launch in space.



Credit: CC0 Public Domain

The device consisted of a capsule containing a chip containing a group of rubidium-87 atoms, electronics, certain lasers and a power source. It was activated when the rocket reached a height of 243 km, giving a BEC in just 1.6 seconds. When BEC was produced, 110 preprogrammed experiments were carried out during the six minutes that it took the rocket to fall back to earth.

The BEC produced by the team was the first ever produced in space to mark the beginning of a new era in BEC research efforts.


Explore further:
Researchers create a place colder than vacuum in space within the International Space Station

More information:
Dennis Becker et al. Space-bored Bose-Einstein condensation for precision interferometry, Nature (2018). DOI: 10,1038 / s41586-018-0605-1

Journal Reference:
Nature


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