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Researchers Create New Form of Matter

Slashdot -

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Phys.Org: MIT physicists have created a new form of matter, a supersolid, which combines the properties of solids with those of superfluids. By using lasers to manipulate a superfluid gas known as a Bose-Einstein condensate, the team was able to coax the condensate into a quantum phase of matter that has a rigid structure -- like a solid -- and can flow without viscosity -- a key characteristic of a superfluid. Studies into this apparently contradictory phase of matter could yield deeper insights into superfluids and superconductors, which are important for improvements in technologies such as superconducting magnets and sensors, as well as efficient energy transport. The researchers report their results this week in the journal Nature. The team used a combination of laser cooling and evaporative cooling methods, originally co-developed by Ketterle, to cool atoms of sodium to nanokelvin temperatures. Atoms of sodium are known as bosons, for their even number of nucleons and electrons. When cooled to near absolute zero, bosons form a superfluid state of dilute gas, called a Bose-Einstein condensate, or BEC. To create the supersolid state, the team manipulated the motion of the atoms of the BEC using laser beams, introducing "spin-orbit coupling." In their ultrahigh-vacuum chamber, the team used an initial set of lasers to convert half of the condensate's atoms to a different quantum state, or spin, essentially creating a mixture of two Bose-Einstein condensates. Additional laser beams then transferred atoms between the two condensates, called a "spin flip."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Error'd: Rebooting Space Mountain

The Daily WTF -

Hugo K. writes, "Space Mountain is closed for refurbishment. It will reopen when all security patches are installed."

 

"Thanks TeamViewer for copying every picture 1.1 million times over," writes Michael L., "You can, um, stop whenever you like."

 

"I had no idea that Report Builder depended on 2972!" wrote David G., "If I ignore this will 30584 still get updated?"

 

"While I have unlimited phone and text, it seems odd that Verizon would track my data usage so precisely," wrote Ken L.

 

Adam K. writes, "My day was going great until Atlassian changed how reputation was tracked."

 

"Today Spotify played the same song on my daily mix twice, at the same time. I guess the album title explains it," wrote Matthijs W.

 

Prutser writes, "Someone forgot some tags while making this website and, all of a sudden, broken HTML was painted all my old dormitory."

 

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