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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences - Department of Physics

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences | Department of Physics | The Department | News Archive | For the First Time, an Ultracold Quantum Gas Generated in Space - with a Laser System from Berlin

For the First Time, an Ultracold Quantum Gas Generated in Space - with a Laser System from Berlin

The Research Group Optical Metrology (Prof. Achim Peters, Ph.D and Dr. Markus Krutzik) from the Department of Physics at HU Berlin is involved, News from January 24, 2017

As part of a national consortium, the Research Group of Optical Metrology (Prof. Achim Peters, Ph.D and Dr. Markus Krutzik) from the Department of Physics at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (HU) now made a historical step towards testing the Equivalence Principle in the microcosm of quantum objects.

In the MAIUS mission launched at 03:30 Central European Time on January 23, 2017 a cloud of nano-Kelvin cold rubidium atoms has been generated in space on board of a sounding rocket for the first time ever. This cloud was cooled down with laser light and radio frequency electrical fields so that the atoms finally formed a single quantum object, a Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC).

More than 20 years after the groundbreaking results of the Nobel laureates Cornell, Ketterle, and Wieman on ultra-cold atoms, preliminary evaluation of the sounding rocket mission data indicates that such experiments can also be carried out under the harsh conditions of space operation – back in 1995, living room-sized setups in a special laboratory environment were required.

More Information

Press release of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (german)

Press release of the Ferdinand-Braun-Institut (pdf)

Press release of the Deutsches Zentrums für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR)

Report on the research of the Research Group Optical Metrology in "Einstein im freien Fall", Humboldt-Zeitung, Ausgabe Januar 2017 (pdf, german)