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Tag archives: superfluid

The February 2017 issue of Physics World is now out

PWFeb17cover-500-ruleBy Matin Durrani

It’s time to check out the February issue of Physics World magazine, where our cover story looks at the physicists studying how dinosaurs moved. The issue is now live in the Physics World app for mobile and desktop, and you can also read the article on physicsworld.com here.

There’s also a great feature about whether supersolids could be making a comeback, while science writer Brian Clegg explains why anticipating people’s questions is the secret to good science communication.

Elsewhere in the new issue, check out why Jules Verne was spot-on with the physics of drones and meet the man who’s been the driving force behind statistical physics meetings.

If you’re a member of the Institute of Physics (IOP), you can now enjoy immediate access to the new issue with the digital edition of the magazine in your web browser or on any iOS or Android mobile device (just download the Physics World app from the App Store or Google Play). If you’re not yet in the IOP, you can join as an IOPimember for just £15, €20 or $25 a year to get full access to Physics World digital.

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A new type of superfluidity?

polaritons.jpg

By James Dacey

Have you come across new research, utterly failed to realise its significance, then the penny drops shortly afterwards? Well it happened to me this week. On Monday, I stumbled across a new research paper in Nature about the behaviour of quasi-particles in a semiconductor and quickly dismissed it as niche physics. However – a little sniffing around the edges and a few phone-calls-to-experts later – I’m beginning to realise the significance this paper may hold for our understanding of Bose-Einstein condensates and superfluidity.

The research in a nutshell: a group of physicists led by Alberto Amo of Madrid’s Autonomous University have observed polaritons — quasiparticles merging photons with excitons — travelling without resistance in a semiconductor microcavity; thus behaving like a superfluid; thus potentially being the first Bose-Einstein condensate in a system out-of-equilibrium.

But I think the research still needs some historical context…

Bose-Einstein condensation was first predicted back in 1925 when Einstein — building on the work of Satyendra Nath Bose — predicted that when weakly interacting atoms are cold enough they drop into their ground state and the individual waveforms merge to create a single quantum state.

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