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A figure inspired by a roman/Latin ancient God called ‘Giano Bifronte’ or Jianus. This God condenses in himself two rather antithetical natures, which co-exist in one entity. It is not possible to remove or extract one of the two natures without completely destroying the God. In the context of the study, the two natures are the superfluid and crystal one. Credit: Harald Ritsch and the Erbium team.
Supersolids, solid materials with superfluid properties (i.e., in which a substance can flow with zero viscosity), have recently become the focus of numerous physics studies. Supersolids are paradoxical phases of matter in which two distinct and somewhat antithetical orders coexist, resulting in a material being both crystal and superfluid.
End - 1960s - Supersolidity - Focus - Number
First predicted at the end of the 1960s, supersolidity has gradually become the focus of a growing number of research studies, sparking debate across different scientific fields. Several years ago, for instance, a team of researchers published controversial results that identified this phase in solid helium, which were later disclaimed by the authors themselves.
A key issue with this study was that it did not account for the complexity of helium and the unreliable observations that it can sometimes produce. In addition, in atoms, interactions are typically very strong and steady, which makes it harder for this phase to occur.
Quantum - Gases - Extreme - Structures - Helium
Dipolar quantum gases lie at the opposite extreme of structures such as solid helium, as they are made up of ultracold magnetic atoms in the gas phase chilled to nanokelvin temperatures. In these gases, therefore, interactions between atoms are weak, yet they are also long-range and tunable with externally controlled magnetic fields.
Because of their high degree of tunability, a few years ago, quantum gases started appearing more frequently in theory proposals for supersolidity. The first experiments using gases coupled to light fields showed states with supersolid-like properties, but...
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