Scientists have created a one-dimensional quantum gas of dysprosium that is stable and creates increasing excited states.


Quantum Hydrogen
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This simulation demonstrates the principle of delocalisation of Hydrogen atoms above a surface of Graphene. Image by Erlend Davidson (Thomas Young Centre, London)

Archimedes Screw

Long ago, the Greek mathematician Archimedes traveled to Egypt and discovered an invention that will be used for generations. The Archimedes screw consists of a circular pipe inclined at an angle that removes water traps and draws water when rotated. 

Today researchers, led by Benjamin Lev, a Stanford University physicist, developed a quantum Archimedes screw that hauls fragile collections of gaseous atoms to higher stable energy states.

"My expectations for our system was that the stability of the gas would only shift a little. I did not expect that I would see complete stabilization of it," explains Lev.

In a study published on January 14 in American Associate for the Advancement of Science, researchers focused on the relationship between long-lived excited states of social quantum systems that both retain relations while evading thermalization---the state of thermal equilibrium.

Scientists created non-thermal (not in thermal equilibrium) states in one-dimensional quantum gas by stabilizing a super-Tonks-Girardeau gas. This was then forced to reach thermal equilibrium using repulsive long-range dipole interactions.

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This allowed researchers to cycle contact interactions from weak and strong repulsions to strang and weak attractiveness using an energy-space topological pump (Archimedes Screw).

During the experiments, researchers observed the development of scar states. We know that electrons, especially in quantum chaos, are hard to find. In reality, all we can do is calculate the probability of electrons appearing in specific places within the atom.

Scar states are incredibly rare trajectories of particles in quantum chaos wherein particles retrace their steps. These states are of special interest to researchers because they offer the possibilities of information encoded in quantum systems. 

In a quantum body with many interacting particles known as a quantum many-body, the existence of scar states have only recently been confirmed.

The study is the first example where a scar state in a many-body quantum gas.

The magnetic interaction we were able to add was very weak compared to the attractive interactions present in the gas. So we expected that not much would change leading to an inevitable collapse" explains Lev.

However, their initial hypothesis was proven wrong. Despite researchers flipping the atomic gas between repulsive and attractive, screwing the many-body system to higher energy states, the gas did not collapse. 

Unfortunately, there are no real-life applications for the discovery. But Lev and his colleagues are pursuing to develop the science that will surely power the quantum technology revolution. Experts believe that the revolution is fast approaching. 

For now, Lev explains that the physics of quantum many-body systems in thermal equilibrium is surprising.

Scientists are only scratching the surface of the quantum Archimedes' screw and are grappling to mathematically explain scar states.

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