In a new study, a team of scientists from Vienna University of Technology and Harvard University created something that has never been done before. With the assistance of researchers at the University of Rice, the scientists generated an atom full of atoms. The new state of matter created by the team is now known as Rydberg polarons.
Creating a New State of Matter, this Atom Full of Atoms
Prior to the development of the Rydberg polarons, scientists were first able to create Rydberg atoms. These latter were what sparked the curiosity of researchers. These set out to determine whether or not an atom full of atoms could be created.
In a Rydberg atom, there is a large amount of space between the circling electrons and the center nuclei. The creation of the Rydberg polarons depended on the recent developments in Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC) theories. These were only recently acted upon, only starting in the 1990s.
These BEC theories allowed researchers to cool down the atoms enough to create the new state of matter. The Rydberg polarons are only able to exist in very low temperatures. To create this new state, the atoms were chilled to almost absolute zero.
The combination of the BEC properties and the space between the electrons and nuclei in the Rydberg atoms allowed researchers to create a loosely packed atom full of atoms.
This new study has massive implications in the research of atoms and their properties. As technology advances, it is helping scientists put into practice theoretical physics. In doing so, the very understanding of the building blocks of the universe might change, based on their discoveries.
The creation of the Rydberg polarons is one small step in a future wave of discoveries, considering specialists. Many are and believe that it is exciting to see where these developments will take quantum physics and mechanics as a field.
A paper with the study results was released in the journal Physical Review Letters.
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