Physicists have had their first look at how matter transitions into an exotic state known as a Bose-Einstein condensate—an ultracold fluid that displays quantum behavior.
The atoms in a Bose-Einstein condensate share a collective quantum persona that has wave properties at macroscopic scales and can show patterns of interference, just as waves on a pond do. Because the behavior of condensates theoretically can be tuned to simulate the quantum properties of other states of matter, physicists expect to use the condensates to investigate poorly understood phenomena such as high-temperature superconductivity.
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