Ultracold quantum particles break classical symmetry

August 09, 2019

Many phenomena of the natural world evidence symmetries in their dynamic evolution which help researchers to better understand a system's inner mechanism. In quantum physics, however, these symmetries are not always achieved. In laboratory experiments with ultracold lithium atoms, researchers from the Center for Quantum Dynamics at Heidelberg University have proven for the first time the theoretically predicted deviation from classical symmetry. Their results were published in the journal "Science".

"In the world of classical physics, the energy of an ideal gas rises proportionally with the pressure applied. This is a direct consequence of scale symmetry, and the same relation is true in every scale invariant system. In the world of quantum mechanics, however, the interactions between the quantum particles can become so strong that this classical scale symmetry no longer applies", explains Associate Professor Dr Tilman Enss from the Institute for Theoretical Physics. His research group collaborated with Professor Dr Selim Jochim's group at the Institute for Physics.

In their experiments, the researchers studied the behaviour of an ultracold, superfluid gas of lithium atoms. When the gas is moved out of its equilibrium state, it starts to repeatedly expand and contract in a "breathing" motion. Unlike classical particles, these quantum particles can bind into pairs and, as a result, the superfluid becomes stiffer the more it is compressed. The group headed by primary authors Dr Puneet Murthy and Dr Nicolo Defenu - colleagues of Prof. Jochim and Dr Enss - observed this deviation from classical scale symmetry and thereby directly verified the quantum nature of this system. The researchers report that this effect gives a better insight into the behaviour of systems with similar properties such as graphene or superconductors, which have no electrical resistance when they are cooled below a certain critical temperature.
-end-


University of Heidelberg

Related Science Articles from Brightsurf:

75 science societies urge the education department to base Title IX sexual harassment regulations on evidence and science
The American Educational Research Association (AERA) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) today led 75 scientific societies in submitting comments on the US Department of Education's proposed changes to Title IX regulations.

Science/Science Careers' survey ranks top biotech, biopharma, and pharma employers
The Science and Science Careers' 2018 annual Top Employers Survey polled employees in the biotechnology, biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, and related industries to determine the 20 best employers in these industries as well as their driving characteristics.

Science in the palm of your hand: How citizen science transforms passive learners
Citizen science projects can engage even children who previously were not interested in science.

Applied science may yield more translational research publications than basic science
While translational research can happen at any stage of the research process, a recent investigation of behavioral and social science research awards granted by the NIH between 2008 and 2014 revealed that applied science yielded a higher volume of translational research publications than basic science, according to a study published May 9, 2018 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Xueying Han from the Science and Technology Policy Institute, USA, and colleagues.

Prominent academics, including Salk's Thomas Albright, call for more science in forensic science
Six scientists who recently served on the National Commission on Forensic Science are calling on the scientific community at large to advocate for increased research and financial support of forensic science as well as the introduction of empirical testing requirements to ensure the validity of outcomes.

World Science Forum 2017 Jordan issues Science for Peace Declaration
On behalf of the coordinating organizations responsible for delivering the World Science Forum Jordan, the concluding Science for Peace Declaration issued at the Dead Sea represents a global call for action to science and society to build a future that promises greater equality, security and opportunity for all, and in which science plays an increasingly prominent role as an enabler of fair and sustainable development.

PETA science group promotes animal-free science at society of toxicology conference
The PETA International Science Consortium Ltd. is presenting two posters on animal-free methods for testing inhalation toxicity at the 56th annual Society of Toxicology (SOT) meeting March 12 to 16, 2017, in Baltimore, Maryland.

Citizen Science in the Digital Age: Rhetoric, Science and Public Engagement
James Wynn's timely investigation highlights scientific studies grounded in publicly gathered data and probes the rhetoric these studies employ.

Science/Science Careers' survey ranks top biotech, pharma, and biopharma employers
The Science and Science Careers' 2016 annual Top Employers Survey polled employees in the biotechnology, biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, and related industries to determine the 20 best employers in these industries as well as their driving characteristics.

Three natural science professors win TJ Park Science Fellowship
Professor Jung-Min Kee (Department of Chemistry, UNIST), Professor Kyudong Choi (Department of Mathematical Sciences, UNIST), and Professor Kwanpyo Kim (Department of Physics, UNIST) are the recipients of the Cheong-Am (TJ Park) Science Fellowship of the year 2016.

Read More: Science News and Science Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.