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MIT-Harvard Center for Ultracold Atoms

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Science News

Scientists from MIT have observed a quantum effect that blocks ultracold atoms from scattering light, reports Emily Conover for Science News. To observe the effect, the researchers “beamed light through a cloud of lithium atoms, measuring the amount of light it scattered,” writes Conover. “Then, the team decreased the temperature to make the atoms fill up the lowest energy states, suppressing the scattering of light.”

New Scientist

A new study by MIT scientists has uncovered evidence of Pauli blocking, confirming that as atoms are chilled and squeezed to extremes their ability to scatter light is suppressed, reports Leah Crane for New Scientist. “This is a very basic phenomenon, but it’s sort of a devil to see,” explains former MIT postdoc Yair Margalit. “You need these extreme conditions to be able to see it – high densities and ultra-low temperatures – and it is difficult to get both of these at once.”

New Scientist

New Scientist reporter Abigail Beall spotlights how MIT researchers have listened to sound waves traveling through a "perfect" fluid, which could shed light on the resonant frequencies within a neutron star. “The quality of the resonances tells me about the fluid’s viscosity, or sound diffusivity,” says Prof. Martin Zwierlein. “If a fluid has low viscosity, it can build up a very strong sound wave and be very loud, if hit at just the right frequency. If it’s a very viscous fluid, then it doesn’t have any good resonances.”

United Press International (UPI)

MIT researchers have developed a new technique to improve atom interferometers, which are used to measure gravity, reports Brooks Hays for UPI. The researchers “found a way to improve the precision of atom interferometers by augmenting the condensates.”

HuffPost

MIT physicists have cooled molecules to just above absolute zero, reports Macrina Cooper-White for The Huffington Post. “The team hopes to cool molecules to an even lower temperature, study the interactions between them, and learn more about the limits on their lifetime,” Cooper-White explains. 

Live Science

Jesse Emspak of Live Science writes that MIT researchers have successfully cooled molecules to just above absolute zero. The researchers found that when the molecules were cooled to 500 nanokelvins they “were quite stable, and tended not to react with other molecules around them.”