Ultracold atoms can make strange and beautiful quantum fireworks

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    Ultracold atoms can make strange and beautiful quantum fireworks
    Oooh, aaah!

    Oooh, aaah!

    H. Fu et al

    By Leah Crane

    It’s a big boom, only on a miniature scale. When waves build up in a quantum fluid of ultracold caesium atoms, they can cause the atoms to ripple outwards in a starburst shape, creating beautiful, tiny, fireworks.

    The fireworks occur in a Bose-Einstein condensate, (BEC), a quantum gas made of particles called bosons cooled to near absolute zero. Caesium atoms are bosons, so Han Fu at the University of Chicago and her colleagues placed a highly cooled gas of these atoms in a disc-shaped trap formed by lasers, which held …

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