PerspectiveQuantum Physics

Standing Room Only at the Quantum Scale

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Science  30 Mar 2001:
Vol. 291, Issue 5513, pp. 2556-2557
DOI: 10.1126/science.1060025

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Atoms may be bosons and fermions depending on their isotopic mass, and this determines their behavior at very low temperatures. Bosons form quantum degenerate gases called Bose-Einstein condensates. In their Perspective, O'Hara and Thomas highlight the work by Truscott et al. , who have made a degenerate fermionic gas through a method called "sympathetic cooling." Such studies will shed light on many processes from superconductivity to the mechanisms driving neutron stars.