Crystallization in Ising quantum magnets

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Science  27 Mar 2015:
Vol. 347, Issue 6229, pp. 1455-1458
DOI: 10.1126/science.1258351

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Atoms behaving in an orderly manner

In physics, interactions between components of a system can cause it to become more orderly in an attempt to minimize energy. Such ordered phases appear, for example, in magnetic systems. Schauss et al. simulated these phenomena using a collection of neutral atoms at low temperatures. By shining laser light on the atoms, the authors brought some of them into a high energy state called the Rydberg state. By carefully varying the experimental parameters, they coaxed these Rydberg atoms into patterns reminiscent of crystal lattices in rod- and disk-shaped atomic samples.

Science, this issue p. 1455