PerspectivePhysics

Bose-Einstein Condensates Interfere and Survive

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Science  25 Mar 2005:
Vol. 307, Issue 5717, pp. 1883-1885
DOI: 10.1126/science.1110247

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Summary

A Bose-Einstein condensate in a dilute gas is a collective state of atoms that acts like a quantum mechanical wave with a phase. In his Perspective, Javanainen highlights the demonstration by Saba et al. that the phase difference between two condensates can be measured without destroying the condensates. The experiments open up new ways to manipulate condensates, which are macroscopic objects, as if they were quantum mechanical entities. Measurement devices based on matter-wave interferometry are a potential application.