Physicists set a cold record Science


In early October, physicists created the coldest space on Earth. They were able to lower the temperature of the cold atomic cluster to just 38 trillionths of absolute zero. It is -273.15 degrees Celsius.

At the zero point, atoms do not move, nor do molecules. Not even cold places have been found in space as they are now in the record test.

The coldest place found in space in this batch is in the Boomerang gas mist. It is located in the constellation Centaur, about 5,000 light-years from Earth. The average temperature of the fog is about –272 degrees Celsius, or about one degree Kelvin, says the European Space Agency (ESA).

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The way to produce extreme cold was quite special.

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Physicist Ernst Rasel From the University of Leibniz in Hanover, his colleagues dropped very cold and magnetized gas atoms down from a tower more than 110 meters high. The atoms were dropped in a vacuum. During the drop, the magnetic state of the atomic cluster was changed.

This const set a new record.

The coldest temperature is preferably expressed in physics on the Kelvin scale. The coldest state is zero Kelvin because the Kelvin scale starts from an absolute zero point.

Heat is the movement of molecules and atoms. The more molecules move, the more heat is generated.

At zero kelvins, atoms do not move. It is impossible to achieve space, but over the years we have gotten closer and closer.

To produce record cold, cold physicists first brought together about one hundred thousand atoms of the rubidium element. They were initially converted to a gaseous form.

Scientists say the atoms were a quantum gas. They were squeezed into a space that is said to be Bosen-Einstein condensate (BEC). In it, the atoms of the same element form in a cold state as one large atom.

The experiment went as follows. The quantum gas was sealed in a vacuum chamber and placed in a magnetic field. Then the physicists kept lowering the temperature of the vacuum.

In the end, the atoms in the chamber were so cold that the temperature of the condensate was only two billionths of a degree above absolute zero, says the website NewAtlas.

This result was not enough for cold researchers. Scientists decided to cool the substance more and more by imitating the very cold conditions in interstellar space.

The group took its cold vacuum chamber to the European Space Agency’s ESA drop tower. It is located Bremen in northwestern Germany. There is the ESA Microgravity Research Center.

In Bremen, atoms were brought from the tower to free fall. This created microgravity, i.e. conditions in which gravity had very little effect on the experiment.

During the drop, the rubidium atoms in the condensate hardly moved at all.

During the two-second drop, scientists adjusted the magnetic field of the atoms. When the field was adjusted off, the quantum gas expanded. When the magnetic field was turned on, the gas contracted and the condensate cooled.

Physicists measured that during the drop, the temperature of the BEC was only 38 picelvin for two seconds, or 38 trillion parts above the zero point of the Kelvin scale.

Physicists say that in theory they would be able to maintain a record temperature for up to 17 seconds. This can sometimes be tried in space conditions, scientists say.

A group of Germans reported on their achievement Physical Review Letters.


Source: Tiede by www.tiede.fi.

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