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Picture of the Day

Researchers make coldest quantum gas of molecules

Researchers have made a long-lived, record-cold gas of molecules that follow the wave patterns of quantum mechanics instead of the strictly particle nature of ordinary classical physics. The research team produced a gas of potassium–rubidium (KRb) molecules at temperatures as low as 50 nanokelvin (nK). That's 50 billionths of a Kelvin, or just a smidge above absolute zero, the lowest theoretically possible temperature. The molecules are in the lowest-possible energy states, making up what is known as a degenerate Fermi gas. The creation of this gas boosts the odds for advances in fields such as designer chemistry and quantum computing. Shown here: An artist's impression of the record-cold quantum gas of potassium-rubidium molecules.

Visit Website | Image credit: Steven Burrows/JILA