Most objects are a collection of vibrating particles in motion, and all of this random motion is reflected in the temperature of an object. When an object cools down to a temperature close to absolute zero (-273.16 degrees Celsius), it still has residual quantum motion, a condition called ‘basic state of motion’.
Previously, physicists managed to supercool small objects, on the nanogram scale, so that their atoms were practically stopped, until the so-called ‘quantum state so pure’.
Now, for the first time, scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA) have succeeded in cooling a large, human-scale object with a mass equivalent to 10 kilograms and made up of almost an octillion of atoms, until it is close to its basic state of motion.
Using the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO), the researchers were able to measure the motion of masses with extreme precision and supercool the motion of the object in question. from room temperature to 77 nanokelvin, very close to its basic state of motion, which they believe is 10 nanokelvins, almost absolute zero.
“This is comparable to the temperature at which atomic physicists cool their atoms to their basic state, and that’s with a small cloud of maybe a million atoms, weighing picograms. So it’s surprising that something much heavier can be cooled up to the same temperature “, Indian MIT Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Vivishek Sudhir.
The results of the new study, published in the journal Science, they represent the largest object that has cooled down to its basic state of motion and open up possibilities for study the effects of gravity on relatively large objects in quantum states.
“No one has ever observed how gravity acts on massive quantum states. We have shown how to prepare kilogram-scale objects in quantum states. This finally opens the door to an experimental study of how gravity might affect large quantum objects, something that until now had only been dreamed ofSudhir said.
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