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Friday, March 17, 2006

 

Atoms in new state of matter behave like Three Musketeers

`An international team of physicists has converted three normal atoms into a special new state of matter whose existence was proposed by Russian scientist Vitaly Efimov in 1970.

In this new state of matter, any two of the three atoms–in this case cesium atoms– repel one another in close proximity. “But when you put three of them together, it turns out that they attract and form a new state,” said Cheng Chin, an Assistant Professor in Physics at the University of Chicago.

Chin, along with 10 scientists led by Rudolf Grimm at the University of Innsbruck in Austria, report this development in the March 16 issue of the journal Nature. The paper describes the experiment in Grimm’s laboratory where for the first time physicists were able to observe the Efimov state in a vacuum chamber at the ultracold temperature of a billionth of a degree above absolute zero (minus 459.6 degrees Fahrenheit).’




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