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    Light Does Awesome Things When Cooled

    Tuesday, May 7, 2019 Last Updated 2019-10-24T14:07:46Z
    We’ve already made mention of the Bose-Einstein condensate. It’s a phenomenon that occurs to matter at a fraction of a degree above absolute zero.

    Though previously seen only at these super-cold temperatures, scientists were able to recreate the effect at room temperature, by using light instead of matter.

    They managed to do this because of the relative density of the matter and the light; one of the scientists involved, Jan Klars, explained that “Our photon gas has a billion times higher density, and we can achieve the condensation already at room temperature.”

    They forced light to travel through two mirrors with particles of dye between them. As the light bounced back and forth, it lost a little bit of energy each time it passed through some dye.

    And when it reached room temperature, the light effectively began to behave like an ultra-cold gas made of traditional matter. 

    This result takes on a whole new relevance when we learn that it could lead to new types of lasers—which, after all, should be the ultimate goal of all physics research.


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