News FocusCondensed-Matter Physics

Doing the Bose Nova With Your Main Squeeze

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Science  23 Mar 2001:
Vol. 291, Issue 5512, pp. 2301-2303
DOI: 10.1126/science.291.5512.2301

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After 6 years of study, condensed-matter physicists have found, much to their satisfaction, that the tenuous vapors that make up atomic Bose-Einstein condensates resemble much denser substances known as quantum fluids--including the classic superfluid, liquid helium (see In other labs, researchers are putting the materials through some weird contortions: engineering them with quantum properties that might lead to ultraprecise measurements of distance or time (see p. 2386); imploding atomic vapors at will to create a kind of miniature supernova or "Bose nova"; and pumping their atoms so full of internal energy that less uniform substances would be instantly destroyed (see