News of the WeekPhysics

Hydrogen Coaxed Into Quantum Condensate

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Science  17 Jul 1998:
Vol. 281, Issue 5375, pp. 321
DOI: 10.1126/science.281.5375.321a

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A team of physicists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has cooled a cloud of over 100 million hydrogen atoms--10 times more than has been achieved with other atoms--almost to absolute zero, coercing it to form a single quantum blob called a Bose-Einstein condensate. Because hydrogen turns out to be easier than other atoms to probe with lasers, researchers should be able to obtain cleaner pictures of the condensate's structure than with other condensates.