PerspectiveQuantum Fluids

Quantum liquids get thin

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Science  19 Jan 2018:
Vol. 359, Issue 6373, pp. 274-275
DOI: 10.1126/science.aar3785

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Summary

A liquid exists when interactions that attract its constituent particles to each other are counterbalanced by a repulsion acting at higher densities. Other characteristics of liquids are short-range correlations and the existence of surface tension (1). Ultracold atom experiments provide a privileged platform with which to observe exotic states of matter, but the densities are far too low to obtain a conventional liquid because the atoms are too far apart to create repulsive forces arising from the Pauli exclusion principle of the atoms' internal electrons. The observation of quantum liquid droplets in an ultracold mixture of two quantum fluids is now reported on page 301 of this issue by Cabrera et al. (2) and a recent preprint by Semeghini et al. (3). Unlike conventional liquids, these liquids arise from a weak attraction and repulsive many-body correlations in the mixtures.