Monday, December 29, 2008
ULTRACOLD ATOM GROUPS AROUND THE WORLD
There are hundreds of research groups all around the world, working with the ultra cold atoms. Some of them are working with just the cold atoms where as many others are working with the Bose-Einstein Condensates(BECs). Bose-Einstein Condensation (BEC) was predicted by Albert Einstein in the early 1920s, when he applied the BOSE STATISTICS to the massive particles-the atoms. Bose had developed his statistics to study the behavior of light particles, called the photons. Although the phenomenon of BEC was made that early, the world had to wait for about 70 years to realize a Bose-Einstein condensate experimentally. The reason was the lack of the technology to cool a gas to a temperature of some nanoKelvins at which the BEC could be observed. The BEC was realized experimentally in Rubidium-87 gas in JILA, Colorado in 1995. In the same year, it was also realized in Sodium-23 in MIT and in Lithium-7 in Rice University. Now there are several laboratories in the world which prepare a BEC and manipulate it in different ways. One of the potential applications of a BEC is in making sensors like interferometers/gyroscopes.