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First Bose-Einstein condensation in space

par Martrenchard-Barra Séverine - 26 octobre 2018

A Bose-Einstein condensate was created for the first time in space by a team of physicists from the University of Hanover (Germany), in collaboration with theoretical physicists from ISMO (University Paris-Sud-CNRS, Orsay, France).

In their article published in the journal Nature, this team describes the creation of an experimental device that was carried into space by a rocket. Many experiments have been conducted during the free fall phase of this rocket flight. Indeed, during its 6 minutes of free fall, more than 100 experiments were performed on a Bose-Einstein condensate.

This marks a significant advance over previous microgravity experiments conducted on Earth involving Bose-Einstein condensates, in which single experiments could be performed over a period of a few seconds only. This is also an important step in the upcoming implementation of a weightless Bose-Einstein condensation experiment on the International Space Station (ISS). These future experiments should pave the way for measurements with unprecedented accuracy in many areas of physics, such as gravitational wave detection for example.

More information :

Original article published in the journal Nature : Dennis Becker et al., Space-borne Bose–Einstein condensation for precision interferometry, Nature 562, pages 391–395 (2018). DOI : 10.1038/s41586-018-0605-1

News report : L. Liang, News & Views - Exploring the Universe with matter waves, Nature 562, 351-352 (2018). DOI : 10.1038/d41586-018-07009-5

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