Rice University research scientist Jason Nguyen FacebookTwitterPrintEmailAddThis Rice University physicists Randy Hulet, Jason Nguyen and De Luo Three panel illustration of BECs, Faraday waves and granulation Return to article. Long DescriptionRice University physicists and colleagues in Austria and Brazil have shown that shaking ultracold Bose-Einstein condensates (top) can cause them to either divide into the uniform segments characteristic of Faraday waves (center) or shatter into unpredictable splinters (bottom). The frequency of the shaking determines the outcome. (Image courtesy of Jason Nguyen/Rice University)But the team also noticed something unexpected: When the modulation was strong and the frequency was far below a Faraday resonance, the BEC broke into “grains” of varying size. Rice research scientist Jason Nguyen, lead co-author of the study, found the grain sizes were broadly distributed and persisted for times even longer than the modulation time.“Granulation is usually a random process that is observed in solids such as breaking glass, or the pulverizing of a stone into grains of different sizes,” said study co-author Axel Lode, who holds joint appointments at both TU Wien and the Wolfgang Pauli Institute at the University of Vienna.Images of the quantum state of the BEC were identical in each Faraday wave experiment. But in the granulation experiments the pictures looked completely different each time, even though the experiments were performed under identical conditions.Lode said the variation in the granulation experiments arose from quantum correlations — complicated relationships between quantum particles that are difficult to describe mathematically.“A theoretical description of the observations proved challenging because standard approaches were unable to reproduce the observations, particularly the broad distribution of grain sizes,” Lode said. His team helped interpret the experimental results using a sophisticated theoretical method, and its implementation in software, which accounted for quantum fluctuations and correlations that typical theories do not address. Share1David [email protected] [email protected] waves and quantum splintersPhysicists shatter Bose-Einstein condensate, get different pieces every time HOUSTON — (March 25, 2019) — Physicists in the United States, Austria and Brazil have shown that shaking ultracold Bose-Einstein condensates (BECs) can cause them to either divide into uniform segments or shatter into unpredictable splinters, depending on the frequency of the shaking. Return to article. Long DescriptionRice University research scientist Jason Nguyen found that BECs sometimes shattered like a glass or pulverized rock, producing different sizes and distributions of grains each time the experiment was conducted. (Photo by Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)Hulet, Rice’s Fayez Sarofim Professor of Physics and Astronomy, and a member of the Rice Center for Quantum Materials (RCQM), said the results have important implications for investigations of turbulence in quantum fluids, an unsolved problem in physics.Additional co-authors include De Luo of Rice and Mario Tsatsos, Gustavo Telles and Vanderlei Bagnato, all of the University of São Paulo at São Carlos. The research was supported by the Army Research Office, the Office of Naval Research, the National Science Foundation, the Welch Foundation, the Austrian Science Foundation, the Vienna Science Research and Technology Fund and the São Paulo Research Foundation.RCQM leverages global partnerships and the strengths of more than 20 Rice research groups to address questions related to quantum materials. RCQM is supported by Rice’s offices of the Provost and the Vice Provost for Research, the Wiess School of Natural Sciences, the Brown School of Engineering, the Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology and the departments of Physics and Astronomy, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Materials Science and NanoEngineering.-30-Links:atomcool.rice.eduultracold.orgrcqm.rice.eduphysics.rice.edunaturalsciences.rice.eduThe DOI of the Physical Review X paper is: 10.1103/PhysRevX.9.011052A copy of the paper is available at: https://journals.aps.org/prx/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevX.9.011052High-resolution IMAGES are available for download at:https://news.rice.edu/files/2019/03/0311_SHATTER-rhjndl18-lg-2kyqp0h.jpgCAPTION: Rice University physicists (from left) Randy Hulet, Jason Nguyen and De Luo and colleagues in Austria and Brazil found that shaking ultracold Bose-Einstein condensates could cause them to either divide into uniform segments or shatter into unpredictable splinters, depending on the frequency of the shaking. (Photo by Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)https://news.rice.edu/files/2019/03/0311_SHATTER-jn24-lb-1qbdb8c.jpgCAPTION: Rice University research scientist Jason Nguyen found that Bose-Einstein condensates sometimes shattered like a glass or pulverized rock, producing different sizes and distributions of grains each time the experiment was conducted. (Photo by Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)https://news.rice.edu/files/2019/03/0311_SHATTER-ScB3j-lg-1b3du57.jpgCAPTION: Rice University physicists and colleagues in Austria and Brazil have shown that shaking ultracold Bose-Einstein condensates (top) can cause them to either divide into the uniform segments characteristic of Faraday waves (center) or shatter into unpredictable splinters (bottom). The frequency and amplitude of the shaking determines the outcome. (Image courtesy of Gustavo Telles/University of São Paulo at São Carlos and Jason Nguyen/Rice University)Related research from Rice:Ultracold atoms used to verify 1963 prediction about 1D electrons — Sept. 4, 2018http://news.rice.edu/2018/09/04/ultracold-atoms-used-to-verify-1963-prediction-about-1d-electrons/Ultracold atom waves may shed light on rogue ocean killers — April 28, 2017http://news.rice.edu/2017/04/28/ultracold-atom-waves-may-shed-light-on-rogue-ocean-killers/Simulating superconducting materials with ultracold atoms — Feb. 23, 2015http://news.rice.edu/2015/02/23/simulating-superconducting-materials-with-ultracold-atoms/Ultracold disappearing act — Nov. 2, 2014http://news.rice.edu/2014/11/02/ultracold-disappearing-act/One-dimensional window on superconductivity, magnetism — Sept. 29, 2010http://news.rice.edu/2010/09/29/one-dimensional-window-on-superconductivity-magnetism-2/Rice physicists find reappearing quantum trios — Dec. 11, 2009http://news.rice.edu/2009/12/11/rice-physicists-find-reappearing-quantum-trios-2/Rice awarded $5M for light-based crystal simulator — Sept. 23, 2009http://news.rice.edu/2009/09/23/rice-awarded-5m-for-light-based-crystal-simulator/Ultracold test produces long-sought quantum mix — Dec. 22, 2005http://news.rice.edu/2005/12/22/ultracold-test-produces-long-sought-quantum-mix/Rice physicists observe new ‘atom wave’ phenomena — May 1, 2002https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2002-05/ru-rpo043002.phpLocated on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,962 undergraduates and 3,027 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is just under 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice is ranked No. 1 for lots of race/class interaction and No. 2 for quality of life by the Princeton Review. Rice is also rated as a best value among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. Return to article. Long DescriptionRice University physicists (from left) Randy Hulet, Jason Nguyen and De Luo and colleagues in Austria and Brazil found that shaking ultracold Bose-Einstein condensates (BECs) could cause them to either divide into uniform segments or shatter into unpredictable splinters, depending on the frequency of the shaking. (Photo by Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)“It’s remarkable that the same quantum system can give rise to such different phenomena,” said Rice University physicist Randy Hulet, co-author of a study about the work published online today in the journal Physical Review X. Hulet’s lab conducted the study’s experiments using lithium BECs, tiny clouds of ultracold atoms that march in lockstep as if they are a single entity, or matter wave. “The relationship between these states can teach us a great deal about complex quantum many-body phenomena.”The research was conducted in collaboration with physicists at Austria’s Vienna University of Technology (TU Wien) and Brazil’s University of São Paulo at São Carlos.The experiments harken to Michael Faraday‘s 1831 discovery that patterns of ripples were created on the surface of a fluid in a bucket that was shaken vertically at certain critical frequencies. The patterns, known as Faraday waves, are similar to resonant modes created on drumheads and vibrating plates.To investigate Faraday waves, the team confined BECs to a linear one-dimensional waveguide, resulting in a cigar-shaped BEC. The researchers then shook the BECs using a weak, slowly oscillating magnetic field to modulate the strength of interactions between atoms in the 1D waveguide. The Faraday pattern emerged when the frequency of modulation was tuned near a collective mode resonance.