New Forms of Matter Near Absolute Zero Temperature

Lecture presented by: Prof. Wolfgang Ketterle
Date: November 4, 2014
Location: Northwestern Polytechnical University, Xi'an, China

Why do physicists freeze matter to extremely low temperatures?  Why is it worthwhile to cool to temperatures which are a billion times lower than that of interstellar space?  In this talk, I will discuss new forms of matter, which only exist at extremely low temperatures.  Low temperatures open a new door to the quantum world where particles behave as waves and “march in lockstep.”  In 1925, Einstein predicted such a new form of matter, the Bose-Einstein condensate, but it was realized only in 1995 in laboratories at Boulder and at MIT.  More recently, we have studied superfluid atom pairs which show behavior similar to electrons in superconducting materials.  Cold atoms are a tool to study phenomena of condensed matter physics at huge spatial magnification at densities which are a billion times lower than ordinary materials.

Prof. Wolfgang Ketterle has been the John D. MacArthur professor of physics at MIT since 1998. He leads a research group exploring new forms of matter of ultracold atoms, in particular novel aspects of superfluidity, coherence, and correlations in many-body systems.

New Forms of Matter Near Absolute Zero Temperature