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!