PASCAL GOETGHELUCK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PASCAL GOETGHELUCK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Bose-Einstein condensate research. Apparatus in a physics laboratory, producing helium gas which will be used to create a Bose- Einstein condensate (BEC). This is a particular state of matter that can arise at very low temperatures. Atoms are trapped using laser beams and magnets, and supercooled to a few fractions of a degree above absolute zero. At these temperatures, the atoms all have the same quantum energy state, and are indistinguishable from each other. They coalesce, behaving as if they were one single 'super atom.' Only bosonic particles, or particles with integer spin such as helium atoms, can form Bose- Einstein condensates. Photographed at the Laboratoire Kastler Brossel at the Centre National de Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Paris, France.
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