Ultracold quantum mix

Bose-Einstein condensates of erbium and dysprosium coexist and interact. Credit: IQOQI Innsbruck

The experimental study of ultra-cold quantum matter allows us to study phenomena of quantum mechanics otherwise inaccessible. A team led by the physicist of Innsbruck, Francesca Ferlaino, has now mixed the quantum gases of two highly magnetic elements, erbium and dysprosium, and created a dipolar quantum mixture.

A few years ago, it seemed impossible to extend the techniques of atom manipulation and deep cooling under the ultra-cold regime to multiple valence electron atomic species. The reason is the increasing complexity of the atomic spectrum and the unknown diffusion properties. However, a team of researchers, led by Ben Lev of Stanford University and an Austrian team of Francesca Ferlaino of the University of Innsbruck, demonstrated the quantum degeneracy of rare earth species. The Ferlaino group has focused its research on erbium and has developed a simple and powerful approach for the production of a Bose-Einstein condensate.

"We have shown how the complexity of atomic physics can open up new possibilities," said Ferlaino. Magnetic species provide an ideal platform for creating dipolar quantum matter, in which the particles interact with each other via a long-range, orientation-dependent interaction in the form of small quantum magnets.

In a new article now published in the journal Letters of physical examination, the Austrian research team reaches a new stage in the field of dipolar material. They mixed erbium and dysprosium and produced for the first time a dipolar quantum mixture. "We have studied very carefully the atomic spectra of these two species and have developed plans to combine them and achieve simultaneous quantum degeneracy," said Philipp Ilzhöfer, one of the two main authors of the paper.

"And our scheme worked even better than expected, allowing us to create a system in which the Bose-Einstein condensates of erbium and dysprosium coexist and interact," adds Arno Trautmann, the other leading author. This breakthrough promises to open new frontiers of research in the field of dipolar quantum material due to the long-term interaction between the two species.

Explore further:
First Bose-Einstein Erbium Condensate Product

More information:
A. Trautmann et al., Diptic quantum mixtures of erbium and dysprosium atoms, Letters of physical examination (2018). DOI: 10.1103 / PhysRevLett.121.213601

Journal reference:
Letters of physical examination

Provided by:
University of Innsbruck

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