Strange quantum object successfully created in lab for the first time

(ORDO NEWS) — Quantum mechanics – the behavior of the universe at its smallest scale – continues to amaze us, and now scientists have been able to successfully create a quantum object called a domain wall in the lab.

For the first time, these walls can now be created in a laboratory on demand, where atoms stored at very low temperatures — a scenario known as a Bose-Einstein condensate — cluster together into domains under certain conditions. The walls are the connections between these domains.

The researchers building these domain walls say they could eventually shed new light on many areas of quantum mechanics, including quantum electronics, quantum memory, and the behavior of exotic quantum particles.

“It’s like a sand dune in the desert – it’s made of sand, but the dune acts like an object that behaves differently than individual grains of sand,” says physicist Kai-Xuan Yao of the University of Chicago.

There have been studies on domain walls before, but until now they have never been able to create them at will in the laboratory, giving scientists the opportunity to analyze them in new ways. It turns out they act as independent quantum entities, but not necessarily in the way scientists expect.

The unexpected behavior means that domain walls join a class of objects called emergent phenomena, where particles that come together follow a different set of laws of physics than particles that act on their own.

One of the unusual observations made by the team is how domain walls respond to electric fields, which will require further study to sort it out. For now, just being able to create and manipulate these walls is a big step forward.

“We have a lot of experience in controlling atoms,” says physicist Cheng Chin of the University of Chicago. “We know that if you move the atoms to the right, they will move to the right. But here, if you move the domain wall to the right, it will move to the left.”

One of the reasons this discovery is so important is that it could tell us how atoms behaved at the very beginning of the universe: particles that were once stuck together eventually expanded to form stars and planets. , and scientists would like to know exactly how this happened.

The discovery of domain walls is under the umbrella of the so-called dynamic gauge theory, a way to test and calculate the dynamics of quantum phenomena in the laboratory.

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