MIT researchers have observed magnetism in an atomic gas of lithium cooled down to 150 millionths of a degree above absolute zero. This experiment represents a point of unification between condensed matter research and the field of atomic science and lasers, and could influence areas such as data storage and medical diagnostics.
To get the lithium gas so cold, the researchers trained an infrared laser beam on the gaseous cloud. Laser cooling is the primary method physicists use to lower gas temperatures to near absolute zero. The laser essentially stun the atoms, slowing them down, and thus lowering the temperature.