Quantum Tornados Formed By Spinning Ultra-Cold Atoms

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Reseachers observed sodium atoms breaking up into crystal particles that resemble tornado-like structures after entering a quantum state. Mukherjee et al, Nature, 2022

MIT Physicists Formed Quantum Tornados by Spinning Ultra-Cold Atoms

by Elizabeth Gamillo/Smithsonianmag.com

MIT researchers have now observed peculiar and eerie quantum mechanics in a twirling, fluid column of ultra-cold sodium atoms, Science Alert’s Tessa Koumoundouros reports. As the particles shifted from being influenced by classical physics to quantum physics, the particles were observed spinning in a tornado-like structure.

The study, published this month in Nature, is the first direct documentation of the evolution of a rapidly-rotating quantum gas, Jennifer Chu explains in an MIT statement. MIT physicist Martin Zwierlein explains it is sort of similar to the way Earth’s rotation spins up weather patterns.“The Coriolis effect that explains Earth’s rotational effect is similar to the Lorentz force that explains how charged particles behave in a magnetic field,” Zwierlein says in a statement. “Even in classical physics, this gives rise to intriguing pattern formation, like clouds wrapping around the Earth in beautiful spiral motions. And now we can study this in the quantum world.”

On a quantum level, atoms behave differently because their interactions with each other hold more influence and power than the energy of their movements, per Science AlertRead More:

 

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Carol graduated from Riverside White Cross School of Nursing in Columbus, Ohio and received her diploma as a registered nurse. She attended Bowling Green State University where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Literature. She attended the University of Toledo, College of Nursing, and received a Master's of Nursing Science Degree as an Educator. She has traveled extensively, is a photographer, and writes on medical issues. Carol has three children RJ, Katherine, and Stephen - one daughter-in-law; Katie - two granddaughters; Isabella Marianna and Zoe Olivia - and one grandson, Alexander Paul. She also shares her life with her husband Gordon Duff, many cats, and two rescues.