We are getting closer to absolute zero. A multi-organizational team of researchers from Germany and France set a new record for the coldest temperature ever recorded in a laboratory, press release explains.
The temperature record set at 38 picoquelins, or 38 trillion parts of degrees warmer than absolute zero could have far-reaching implications for the field of particle physics.
This is because some materials exhibit more and more unusual behavior the closer they get to absolute zero, which is -459.67 ° F (-273.15 ° C) and is usually measured as 0 Kelvins. The liquid form of helium, for example, becomes “superfluid”, which means that it flows freely, regardless of friction.
The study, published in the journal Physical examination letters, describes in detail how researchers at The Center for Applied Space Technology and Microgravity of the University of Bremen uses a a system of lenses with material waves in the time domain, which is a lens made of quantum gas.
Temperature recorders want to get even colder
The experiment took place in the 122-meter pipe of the Dromen Tower in Bremen. They created a cloud of rubidium gas at the top of the tower and held it in place with the help of magnets, which also served to turn the atoms in the cloud into Bose-Einstein condensate, making it extremely cold. When the gas cloud was released from its magnetic trap, it fell down the discharge pipe as it expanded in all directions, making it even colder.
Although the whole process lasted only two seconds, the detectors in the Bremen Drop Tower were able to measure the kinetic energy of the atoms, which allowed the researchers to calculate the temperature of 38 picoquelvins.
Experiments conducted at the International Space Station Cold Atom Lab have reached temperatures of 100 nanoKelvin or 100 millionths of degrees above absolute zero, but the new experiment has provided a new breakthrough. The researchers also said that by reducing the number of atoms in the cloud before it is released, they could get even closer to absolute zero. They also say that their setting can be used to test theories of gravity at the quantum level, providing a new window into the mysterious world of quantum mechanics.