8. September 2022
New publi­ca­tion by Immanuel Bloch
© Hector Fellow Academy

Paper by Immanuel Bloch published in Journal Nature: novel microwave cooling technique for molec­u­lar gases

When a highly dilute gas is cooled to ultra-low temper­a­tures, bizarre proper­ties are revealed. Physi­cists expect partic­u­larly manifold and reveal­ing forms of quantum matter to appear when gases consist­ing of polar molecules are cooled. They are charac­ter­ized by a hetero­ge­neous electric distri­b­u­tion of charges. Unlike free atoms, they can rotate, vibrate, and attract or repel each other. However, it is diffi­cult to cool molec­u­lar gases to ultra-low temperatures.

Researchers at the Max Planck Insti­tute of Quantum Optics have devel­oped a novel microwave cooling technique for molec­u­lar gases that allows polar molecules to be cooled to just a few nanokelvins, 21 billionths of a degree above absolute zero. The results could have major impli­ca­tions for research on quantum effects and quantum matter. "Because the new cooling technique is simple enough to be integrated into most exper­i­men­tal setups involv­ing ultra­cold polar molecules, the method should soon be widely adopted — and contribute to a number of new insights," says Hector Fellow Immanuel Bloch, direc­tor of MPQ's Depart­ment of Quantum Many Body Systems. "This is because cooling by microwave field not only opens up a series of new inves­ti­ga­tions into peculiar states of matter such as super­flu­id­ity or supra­so­lid­ity," Bloch says. "Moreover, it could be benefi­cial in quantum technolo­gies." For example, in quantum comput­ers, where data could perhaps be stored by ultra­cold molecules.

Congrat­u­la­tions Immanuel Bloch!