One of the most important aims of contemporary scientific research is knowing exactly where the transition occurs from the quantum world to the classical world and why it occurs -- in other words, finding out what makes the production of entropy predominate. This aim explains the current interest in studying mesoscopic systems, which are not as small as individual atoms but nevertheless display well-defined quantum behavior.
A new experimental study by researchers from Brazil and elsewhere offers an important contribution to this field. An article about it has recently been published in Physical Review Letters.
Systems - Condensate - Atoms - Cavity - Cavity
"We studied two systems: a Bose-Einstein condensate with 100,000 atoms confined in a cavity and an optomechanical cavity that confines light between two mirrors," Gabriel Teixeira Landi, a professor at the University of São Paulo's Physics Institute (IF-USP), told.
Landi was one of the scientists responsible for developing a theoretical model correlating the production of entropy with measurable quantities for both experiments. The research is supported by São Paulo Research Foundation -- FAPESP. The Bose-Einstein condensate was studied at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich), and the cavity optomechanics device was studied at the University of Vienna in Austria.
State - Matter - Solids - Liquids - Gases
Often called the "fifth state of matter" (the other four being solids, liquids, gases and plasma), Bose-Einstein condensates are obtained when a group of atoms is cooled almost to absolute zero. Under these conditions, the particles no longer have the free energy to move relative to each other, and some of them enter the same quantum states, becoming indistinguishable from one another. The atoms then obey so-called Bose-Einstein statistics, which usually apply to identical particles. In a Bose-Einstein condensate, the entire group of atoms behaves as a single particle.
An optomechanical cavity is basically a light trap. In this particular case, one of the mirrors consisted of a nanometric...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ScienceDaily