In this case, we are talking about portable Cold corn labIt is a chamber used to study the quantum properties of atoms in microgravity conditions. During the experiments, it was possible to create a quantum gas with two types of atoms. A post on this issue is now available here nature.
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What is striking is not only the final result, but also the way in which the described research was conducted. The scientists behind them from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory control the interactions that occur in space remotely.
But let’s get to the crux of the problem. Known states of matter include liquid, gas, and solid. Scientists also consider different types of phases, for example plasma or amorphous phase. But there is also a strange state of matter known as a Bose-Einstein condensate.
The strange state of matter, called Bose-Einstein condensates, was created thanks to experiments conducted in microgravity conditions aboard the International Space Station.
It does not occur naturally, but can be produced under controlled conditions. To obtain them, very low temperatures are needed, close to absolute zero, which is the lowest possible temperature in the universe. To properly cool the cloud of atoms, lasers or magnets are used. In such conditions, the atoms begin to move slowly enough that their edges come into contact with each other, and it is possible to observe quantum effects that are not normally seen.
Why did the International Space Station play any role in this story? This is due to the microgravity environment there. While the Bose-Einstein condensate dissipates on Earth immediately after the magnet or laser is turned off, the situation is different in microgravity conditions.
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Thanks to recent experiments, it was possible to form the mentioned capacitors in unique conditions, because they contain two types of atoms. Working remotely, members of the research team used a potassium and rubidium cloud. In terms of potential benefits, there is talk of designing higher-resolution sensors. Imagine creating gyroscopes from atoms in Bose-Einstein condensates.
Such tools would be particularly useful during space travel, providing highly efficient navigation. In addition, it is important to verify the assumptions of Einstein’s theory of general relativity. According to the famous scientist, gravity should affect all objects in the same way, regardless of their mass – at least in a vacuum.
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