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Researchers observe sub-absolute zero temperature

Posted on Wednesday, January 09 2013 @ 10:46:02 CET by

DailyTech writes Professor Ulrich Schneider and his colleagues of Germany's Ludwig Maximilian University have demonstrated the first-ever peer-reviewed instance of a quantum gas made up of potassium atoms with a negative (sub-absolute zero) temperature! This means the thermodynamic temperature is of negative quantity, but oddly enough a below-absolute-zero system is not cold, in fact, it's hotter than any positive Kelvin system.
Atoms float upwards, ignoring gravity. In a phenomenon that theoretical physicists believe mimic "dark energy", the atoms even stabilize in conditions that would normally crush inwards. It's as if gravity itself is being overridden and energetic arrangements that would normally create instability, instead stabilize. In short, we've entered the Twilight Zone of particle physics.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Wolfgang Ketterle was a pioneer in the field of negative absolute temperatures. He remarks, "[With negative absolute temperatures it is] as though you can stand a pyramid on its head and not worry about it toppling over."

The MIT professor in a new interview with Nature lauds the new work by Ulrich Schneider of Munich, Germany's Ludwig Maximilian University and colleagues. In the work Professor Schneider demonstrates the first-ever peer-reviewed instance of a negative absolute temperature material breaking the absolute zero behavior.



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