Jan 11, 2021

Quantum Experiment Reveals Particles Can Form Collectives Out of Almost Nothing

Posted by in categories: particle physics, quantum physics

How many particles do you need before individual atoms start behaving collectively? According to new research, the number is incredibly low. As few as six atoms will start transitioning into a macroscopic system, under the right conditions.

Using a specially designed ultra-cold laser trap, physicists observed the quantum precursor of the transition from a normal to a superfluid phase – offering a way to study the emergence of collective atomic behaviour and the limits of macroscopic systems.

Many-body physics is the field that seeks to describe and understand the collective behaviour of large numbers of particles: a bucket of water, for example, or a canister of gas. We can describe these substances in terms of their density, or their temperature – the way the substance is acting as a whole.

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