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Cambridge Scientists Create Huge Quantum Particles

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the quantum-mechanics-never-looked-so-good dept.

Science 52

judgecorp writes "Researchers at Cambridge University have produced a quantum fluid thousands of times larger than previously, leading to the possibility of polaritons produced at lower power and at a broader temperature range. This could lead to quantum circuits, as well as applications such as more sensitive gyroscopes." The paper was published in Nature Physics on January 8th, but a pre-press version is available through arXiv.

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Quantum Participles (5, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 2 years ago | (#38646904)

Quantum linguistics?

Re:Quantum Participles (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38646914)

Yes, they travel faster than light, so depending on where you are they're past participles before you even see them!

Re:Quantum Participles (2)

jamiesan (715069) | more than 2 years ago | (#38650270)

Travelling faster than light, the scientists carefully watched the neutrinos.

Re:Quantum Participles (2)

bromoseltzer (23292) | more than 2 years ago | (#38646928)

It's a British thing. Queen's English. What what.

Re:Quantum Participles (2)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | more than 2 years ago | (#38646930)

Well, they're making up words like polaritions, so linguistics it is! Bythe way, is a polarition a polariton that's just apparitional, or what?

Re:Quantum Participles (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38647254)

Are these mysterious Polaritons the reason for the mess going on in US politics? Just wonder if what has really happened is the Republicans have been bombarded with too many negatively charged ones. Perhaps changes in US politics is how to detect a change in Polaritons...I always wondered why sometimes there seems to be too many negative Nellies around all at the same time, and then all of a sudden the situation changes and everybody gets happy and up beat...must be the result of Polaritons. And because they travel faster than light one can only deduce from the state of American politics what type of Polaritons are happening in the universe at any particular moment in time.

Re:Quantum Participles (2)

TheGoodNamesWereGone (1844118) | more than 2 years ago | (#38648210)

It's only a polariton if it's *reverse* routed through the main deflector dish...

Re:Quantum Participles (1)

davewoods (2450314) | more than 2 years ago | (#38651268)

But only if you THEN route it through the anti-matter chambers to the warp nacelle. (This is assuming you are prepared to eject the core for the 30th time this year).

Re:Quantum Participles (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#38654002)

So, when do the tachyons come into play again? There's always tachyons it seems.

Re:Quantum Participles (1)

davewoods (2450314) | more than 2 years ago | (#38654738)

No no no, tachyons are only used for time travel. This is a simple polariton gathering net via an anti-matter mesh. No need for tachyons (Phased or not).

On the other hand, I suppose if you wanted to increase the effectiveness of the gathering nets, you could coat them with a few tachyon bursts, which means they would collect polaritons from all the surrounding times at once. THEN the only problem is re-integrating all of the polaritons into the same time frame, a phase inverter synced with the rotation of the polaritons might just do the trick, I would like to run a few tests to be sure though.

Apparently I can still "Star Trek" my way through any sciencey talk, as long as no actual scientists are involved.

Re:Quantum Participles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38654918)

> ... you are prepared to eject the core for the 30th time this year

Yeah, I'm surprised they don't just tow the damn thing....

Re:Quantum Participles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38646932)

Silly you, quantum physicists are allowed to make up their own words.

Re:Quantum Participles (2)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38647006)

ultrasensitive gyroscopes to measure gravity, magnetic field

Without more information, it is impossible to determine if they will be pragmatically superior to the existing laser gyroscopes [wikipedia.org] , or even the humble Fluxgate Compass. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Quantum Participles (5, Funny)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38646934)

They spelled it right, you just changed it by reading it.

Re:Quantum Participles (4, Funny)

Ukab the Great (87152) | more than 2 years ago | (#38647414)

The joke was funny, you just changed it by telling it.

*jk

Re:Quantum Participles (4, Funny)

Dracos (107777) | more than 2 years ago | (#38647078)

I wonder if they dangle.

Re:Quantum Participles (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38647210)

Until observed, they are both dangling and not dangling.

Re:Quantum Participles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38651940)

The research was done by Won Hung Lo

Re:Quantum Participles (1)

siddesu (698447) | more than 2 years ago | (#38647370)

Or subby using a tablet or mobile phone + one of those pesky auto-miscorrecting software keyboards, more likely. One of these ruined a date for me by substituting an often-used name for the one I wanted to write... Although I ought to know better at this age than to use names.

Re:Quantum Participles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38648630)

you ought really to know better than to have dates by tablet or mobile phone, too...

Re:Quantum Participles (1)

jimthehorsegod (1210220) | more than 2 years ago | (#38648698)

if you're using a tablet for a date, let me tell you you're doing it wrong...

Re:Quantum Participles (1)

imikem (767509) | more than 2 years ago | (#38651340)

That would be cunning.

But do these participles still exist...... (5, Funny)

jbp1 (1179795) | more than 2 years ago | (#38646924)

or are they past?

So .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38646944)

Meghan McCain is writing for Slashdot now?

quantum verbs? (2)

bidule (173941) | more than 2 years ago | (#38647012)

Stop adjectivizing quantum verbs, they don't like it.

If its visible at naked eye (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38647112)

Why couldn't they publish a dam video instead of just one small picture that looks like something out of photoshoped vector wallpapers. Teasing a-holes.

Re:If its visible at naked eye (2)

GumphMaster (772693) | more than 2 years ago | (#38647448)

You mean like this [youtube.com] ? ;)

Re:If its visible at naked eye (1)

arisvega (1414195) | more than 2 years ago | (#38654638)

Yes. More purple energy.

Size doesn't matter (2)

SlithyMagister (822218) | more than 2 years ago | (#38647160)

-- except in matter,
and if it is dangling participle, it will be smaller

Re:Size doesn't matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38649070)

-- except in matter,

and if it is dangling participle, it will be smaller

this is the kind of comment up with which I will not put!

Polaritons? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38647174)

Sounds like bite-sized Klondike bar bits...they should seriously steal that name and use it for ice cream goodness...

Carrying on a geeky tradition (5, Funny)

BrynM (217883) | more than 2 years ago | (#38647182)

When I read the title, this scenario immediately popped into my head:

Physicist A: "We need to make something cool out of them... like one of those tiny violins or the art on a microchip..."
Physicist B: "Let's make boobs! Every sculptor makes boobs eventually! Quantum boobs!"
Physicist A: "OK, but they gotta be HUGE! Then we can use normal particles for the nipples!"

I've been hanging around lonely geeks too long.

This has been needed for decades (3, Funny)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 2 years ago | (#38647272)

This could lead to quantum circuits

Great! My lights have been needing a bottle of blinker fluid for the longest time!

This article says nothing. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38647310)

Does anybody here understand what these scientists have supposedly achieved? (Other than good grant application juju).

Quantum fluids? So.., a substance which both exists and does not exist a the same time? And, according to the article, it's also visible to the naked eye? But isn't the whole point to quantum science that observation collapses a state into one thing or the other?

I'm confused.

I don't know what to think, but I do get the strong feeling that half of this quantum science stuff is total bullshit.

Re:This article says nothing. (5, Informative)

students (763488) | more than 2 years ago | (#38647580)

Does anybody here understand what these scientists have supposedly achieved?

This is in my area of research, and I read and understood the abstract. It does not seem like something that should be posted on Slashdot.

In this case, quantum fluid means a fluid that is cold enough, dense enough, and made of low enough mass particles that it has some quantum mechanical properties (interference is an example in the abstract).

Making a bigger quantum fluid is not really a challenge - you just need a bigger refrigerator and a bigger tank of helium. In this case, they made a bigger quantum fluid of a very specialized type.

But isn't the whole point to quantum science that observation collapses a state into one thing or the other?

No. That is just one small part of quantum mechanics.

Re:This article says nothing. (1)

cold fjord (826450) | more than 2 years ago | (#38648450)

I compliment you on your answer. Until I read your post, it appeared that they were working with some form of bolonium laced with unobtainium to make their claims.

Seeing your answer makes me thing some people might also find this helpful:

BEC - What is it and where did the idea come from? [colorado.edu]

or this..

Bose–Einstein condensation [pnas.org]

Re:This article says nothing. (1)

pugugly (152978) | more than 2 years ago | (#38649390)

One simple obvious thing I haven't figured out, is if super-cooled Helium qualifies as a Bose-Einstein condensate, and if not why not? Everything I see on this refers to BEC's being created in 1995, but I equally see the properties of supercooled helium as being due to Bose-Einstein Statistics, even to a point of noting that Helium IV creates a superfluid faster than (at higher temperature) because Helium IV is naturally a boson, while Helium III is only a boson in pairs.

Do superfluids qualify as a condensate, could they qualify if they were cooled further, and what are the actual differences between a Helium IV superfluid and a condensate?

Small words only please boson-breathe - {grin}

Pug

Re:This article says nothing. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38649674)

One simple obvious thing I haven't figured out, is if super-cooled Helium qualifies as a Bose-Einstein condensate, and if not why not? Everything I see on this refers to BEC's being created in 1995, but I equally see the properties of supercooled helium as being due to Bose-Einstein Statistics, even to a point of noting that Helium IV creates a superfluid faster than (at higher temperature) because Helium IV is naturally a boson, while Helium III is only a boson in pairs.

Do superfluids qualify as a condensate, could they qualify if they were cooled further, and what are the actual differences between a Helium IV superfluid and a condensate?

(Yes I work in BEC)

Helium 4 becomes superfluid at low temperatures because there is Bose-Einstein condensation present in the Helium, but it's only a small fraction of the total sample (at very low temperatures the condensate fraction is ~ 10%, while the superfluid fraction is in ~ 100%). The actual situation in this system is massively complicated by the fact that Helium is a liquid in this regime.

Einstein's prediction of condensation was for an ideal gas (i.e., no interactions between the atoms). The novelty here is that the transition to a different phase of matter is therefore driven by the quantum statistics, rather than interactions between the atoms (as in every other phase transition).

The next-most-simple scenario is a near-ideal gas, i.e., a bunch of atoms which scatter off one another (in one-on-one collisions only), and which don't scatter very hard. This system will also undergo condensation, though of course some pedants will argue that it isn't the Bose-Einstein transition anymore because interactions are present. It's very closely related though.

This near-ideal-gas system provided (in ~ 1950s ) a theoretical basis for qualitatively understanding superfluid Helium, despite the fact that it's a terrible approximation, as liquid Helium is just that: Liquid, and so the atoms are interacting with one another like crazy. The condensates realized in the late nineties are formed in gaseous samples, where the near-ideal-gas type of model can be quantitatively accurate, and virtually 100% pure condensates can be formed in this way. One upshot of this is that you can observe a lot of the phenomenology that is associated with all BEC in principle, but which in practice would be impossible to observe in a system like liquid Helium.

Re:This article says nothing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38648638)

Told!

Re:This article says nothing. (5, Informative)

Baron Eekman (713784) | more than 2 years ago | (#38648686)

The expression "quantum fluid" can be misleading.

What they did here is make a system of coherent "polaritons" just as laser light is a bunch of coherent photons/light waves. As mentioned in the article abstract, a polariton is some combination of a photon (light particle) and an exciton. In turn, an exciton is a bound state of an electron and a hole from the semiconductor. (A hole is the 'vacant' positive charge created when an electron is removed, and may for all practical purposes be regarded as an anti-electron within the semiconductor.) If I understand correctly, the novelty in this work is not making the polariton condensate but the visualization of it. In that sense, the summary if way off.

This is surely not easy to grasp for the layman. What does this imply? As parent mentioned, making coherent quantum states or matter is a standard affair by now, and research focuses on extending our capabilities on all levels. It is necessary for our understanding of the fundamentals of quantum mechanics and how many particles conspire to make laboratory but also everyday matter. The practical possibilities for making devices out of "quantum fluids" is severely limited, since you almost always need extremely low temperatures to produce them. Only superconductors come close.

Re:This article says nothing. (1)

dimeglio (456244) | more than 2 years ago | (#38649252)

This begs the question as to who generates more exitons: Sara Underwood or Candace Bailey?

Re:This article says nothing. (1)

sempir (1916194) | more than 2 years ago | (#38650712)

And the beauty of this fluid is that if you spill it it ceases to exist!

No mess, no fuss and no cleaning up.

Re:This article says nothing. (1)

pantaril (1624521) | more than 2 years ago | (#38649360)

If i understand it correctly, they just made bosson condensate from from polariton quasiparticles.

Bosson condensate is nothing new. Bossons are integer spin particles which means they can occupy the same energy level or quantum state with other bossons of the same type (on other hand, fermions - particles with half integer spin - never occupy same quantum state with other fermions of the same type, that's why electrons are placed in energetic layers around atom nuclei).

Lot of bossons in basic energy state basicaly behave as single particle (they all have same quantum state).

What's new in this experiment is that boson condensate from polariton quasiparticles can have macroscopic dimensions and can exist in room temperatures and it behaves like superfluid!

Recent condensation? (1)

tenco (773732) | more than 2 years ago | (#38648172)

I don't understand what's new about polaritons in semiconductor nanostructures. You only need a multi quantum well structure and pump it at the right angle with a laser.

Larger than previously? Not. (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 2 years ago | (#38648292)

Um... TFA says "larger than usual". Not "larger than before".

I think the record still belongs to Bose condensates [wikipedia.org] that have been created in the lab, essentially amounting to huge single quantum "particles".

Next Step.. (1)

undulato (2146486) | more than 2 years ago | (#38648962)

The SEP field.

Polaritons? Just makin' **** up, are we? (1)

karlandtanya (601084) | more than 2 years ago | (#38649452)

I know the menagerie of particles and things-we-like-to-model-as-if-they-were-particles becomes huge.

Even so, after starting my morning with an article about quantum "polaritons", I will have this [archive.org] running through my head all day...
Lyrics here [lyricsmania.com] if you don't want your friends to know you listen to goth trek filk.

Re:Polaritons? Just makin' **** up, are we? (1)

physburn (1095481) | more than 2 years ago | (#38656764)

If it helps Polaritons don't belong in the standard model megagerie. They are quasi-particles. Collective states can (often) be modelled as a system with the number of quasi-particles representing the excitation of the system, if these quasi-particles have well defined properties, act at point, commute with other useful observable then its a useful description of reality, but its still just electrons and nucleii as usual. Quasi-particles are very useful at reducing complex system to simple ones in condensed matter.

These Particles are so big (1)

Snaller (147050) | more than 2 years ago | (#38649928)

they follow you home.

As long as they don't hog the sofa!

The next big thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38650982)

Next, we get quantum conjugates... Would they be called quanjugates? :-)

Or Not (1)

Buddy the WIld Geek (978961) | more than 2 years ago | (#38665308)

They either created quantum particles or they didn't. I'm going to check, and I'm sure they didn't. Sure enough.
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