December 7, 2022

Controlling quantumness in cold atoms

In one, two, and three-particle systems, actions that happen in one spot can strongly influence atoms far away. 

Researchers from the Quantum Systems Unit at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST), alongside collaborators at University College Dublin and Durham University, simulated one of these systems, which revealed quantum states that were unexpected.

At room temperature, particles move around very quickly. The warmer it is, the faster they move. By using laser cooling, these atoms can be slowed and cooled down until they reach almost zero velocity and are thus super-cold.

In a system like this, the simplest thing the particles can do is collide with each other. This forces them to move around and change direction, but particles also have something called spin. The spin of a particle is either pointing up or down and further influences how it moves — an effect called spin-orbit coupling. When the researchers simulated a system with two super-cold atoms that were spin-orbit coupled, these new states, with their very strong correlations, were revealed. (ScienceDaily)

Their results, published in New Journal of Physics, could have applications for quantum technologies.

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