Bose-Einstein Condensate is the fifth state of matter. Other states of matter include solid, liquid, gas, and plasma. Like all matter, these states contain atoms that are made up of neutron, electron, and proton. According to Washington State University, atoms combine to form molecules, which become the building blocks of a state of matter.
Live Science reported that a form of potential energy, called chemical energy, holds together both atoms and molecules. But molecules in each state of matter do not behave similarly.
Solids have more tightly packed molecules, while molecules in liquids are more loosely packed, and molecules in a gas have a great deal of space between them. On the other hand, plasma is the most common matter in the universe even if it may not be the most common state of matter on Earth.
But how about the fifth state of matter?
Bose-Einstein Condensate and Its Origins
Dubbed as the fifth state of matter, Bose-Einstein Condensate is created when boson particles are cooled to near absolute zero or about -273.15 degrees Celsius, or -460 degrees Fahrenheit.
According to ScienceAlert, there is insufficient energy for the particles to move at such a low temperature that might cause their unique quantum characteristics to interfere with one another. Having no differences in energy that will set them apart, the particles begin to share the same identity and effectively become a single super particle cloud that functions within its own rules.
The science website further discussed that during the early years of the 20th century, Indian physicist and mathematician Satyendra Nath Bose applied the recent advances in quantum theory as he reinterprets the statistics on the relationship between light and temperature.
The new interpretation had become the Bose-Einstein statistics when Bose checked his idea with Einstein's, which played a significant role in mathematics that helped in identifying the particles from one another when they form a super-particle cloud.
The particles called bosons, named after Bose, includes the photons, gluons, and other force-carrying members of the standard model of particle physics.
Einstein had extended the statistics that Bose came up with to describe the light waves and atomics, which lead to the prediction that when temperatures dropped, groups of individual bosons could share quantum states.
The Fifth State Of Matter Finally Observed in 1995
But it was not until 1995 that this fifth state of matter was finally observed. Joint Institute for Lab Astrophysics (JILA) scientists Eric Cornell, Wolfgang Ketterle, and Carl Weiman used a combination of lasers and magnets to cool down a collection of rubidium-87 atoms to within a few degrees near absolute zero.
Live Science reported that at very low temperatures, the scientists observed that the molecular motions are coming very close to a stop that there is almost no kinetic energy being transferred from each atom that it begun to clump together and formed one super-atom.
Cornell, Ketterle, and Weiman shared the 2001 Nobel Prize in Physics for their work.
Bose-Einstein Condensate is used to study quantum mechanics at a macroscopic level, wherein light could pass through it and enable scientists to investigate the particle-wave paradox. Also, it is used to simulate the conditions that might be present in black holes.
New Scientist reported that scientists had created the Bose-Einstein Condensate in 2018 in the Cold Atom Laboratory aboard the International Space Station (ISS).
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