A Bose-Einstein condensate has been produced in space for the first time

October 18, 2018 by Bob Yirka, Phys.org report
The payload of the sounding rocket in the integration hall at the European Space and Sounding Rocket Range (Esrange) in Sweden Credit: photo/©: André Wenzlawski, JGU

An international team of researchers has successfully produced a Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC) in space for the first time. In their paper published in the journal Nature, the group describes creating a small experimental device that was carried on a rocket into space and the experiments that were conducted during its freefall.

A Bose-Einstein condensate is a state of matter occurring after with very low density are chilled to very near absolute zero and bunch up to form an extremely dense quantum state. Scientists are interested in producing them so that they can test their properties—theory has suggested that they could serve as the basis for highly sensitive sensors. Such super-sensitive sensors could be used to better understand physics phenomena such as gravitational waves. However, producing Bose-Einstein condensates is tricky, because gravity interferes with devices for producing and studying them. The current method involves dropping such devices from towers to allow them to do their work in a zero-gravity environment—but these experiments have just fractions of seconds to operate. Doing these experiments in space would be a much better option due to the microgravity environment.

Realizing the potential of a space-based platform for conducting BEC research, the U.S. launched the Cold Atom Laboratory last May, though it is not yet fully functional. In the interim, the researchers with this new effort created a tiny device capable of producing a BEC and conducting a host of experiments on it, which they put aboard a rocket and launched into space.

Payload of the sounding rocket and all those involved in the undertaking, among them scientists of the MAIUS-1 project, employees of the German Aerospace Center, and employees of the Esrange rocket launch site Credit: photo/©: Thomas Schleuss, DLR

The device consisted of a capsule containing a chip holding a group of rubidium-87 atoms, electronics, some lasers and a power source. It was activated once the rocket reached an altitude of 243 km, producing a BEC in just 1.6 seconds. Once the BEC was produced, 110 preprogrammed experiments were carried out in the six minutes it took the rocket to fall back to Earth.

The BEC produced by the team was the first ever produced in space and marks the start of a new era in BEC research efforts.

Explore further: Researchers are creating a spot colder than the vacuum of space inside the International Space Station

More information: Dennis Becker et al. Space-borne Bose–Einstein condensation for precision interferometry, Nature (2018). DOI: 10.1038/s41586-018-0605-1

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10 comments

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savvys84
1 / 5 (1) Oct 23, 2018
there is a way to even produce bose einstein condensate at room temps and on a table top
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (6) Oct 23, 2018
there is a way to even produce bose einstein condensate at room temps and on a table top


You don't really know what a Bose-Einstein condensate is, do you?
savvys84
1 / 5 (5) Oct 24, 2018
there is a way to even produce bose einstein condensate at room temps and on a table top


You don't really know what a Bose-Einstein condensate is, do you?
I have produced / synthessized it on a tabletop, so you are the one that doesn't know what bose einstein condensate is
cortezz
5 / 5 (4) Oct 24, 2018
I fart miniature black holes daily. I just don't document or publish anything
savvys84
1 / 5 (1) Oct 25, 2018
I fart miniature black holes daily. I just don't document or publish anything

i dont think you are capable of inventing anything more than a fart, with or without the black holes. seems to me you are an african
cortezz
5 / 5 (3) Oct 25, 2018
i dont think you are capable of inventing anything more than a fart, with or without the black holes. seems to me you are an african

Someone who can't even use capital letters is trying to undermine my scientific endeavours? Seems to me you are an american.
cortezz
5 / 5 (2) Oct 25, 2018
Double post so I need to come up something to write. Well, I hope they do more studies in zero-g
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (4) Oct 25, 2018
@savvys84
there is a way to even produce bose einstein condensate at room temps...
I have produced / synthessized it on a tabletop, so you are the one that doesn't know what bose einstein condensate is
calling BS on this one: where is the paper or reference material proving it?

more to the point: you claimed "room temp", which, by definition, is not a BEC

definition of a BEC
A Bose–Einstein condensate (BEC) is a state of matter of a dilute gas of bosons cooled to temperatures very close to absolute zero (-273.15°C).
savvys84
not rated yet Oct 26, 2018
@savvys84
there is a way to even produce bose einstein condensate at room temps...
I have produced / synthessized it on a tabletop, so you are the one that doesn't know what bose einstein condensate is
calling BS on this one: where is the paper or reference material proving it?

more to the point: you claimed "room temp", which, by definition, is not a BEC

definition of a BEC
A Bose–Einstein condensate (BEC) is a state of matter of a dilute gas of bosons cooled to temperatures very close to absolute zero (-273.15°C).
If you can get electrons to fall into the nucleus at room temp, it is a BEC
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (4) Oct 26, 2018
If you can get electrons to fall into the nucleus at room temp, it is a BEC


Thank you for proving my point:
"You don't really know what a Bose-Einstein condensate is, do you?"

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