The 5th State of Matter – Bose Einstein Condensate
There was a time when we had learned three states of matter in our childhood and they were pretty simple. We had learned the Solid, liquid & gas are the only three states of matter, on which the roots of our whole world constitutes. While the time when these three states of matter were discovered, that era was also been marked as the beginning of the modern science, because the discovery of these states enabled the scientists to study and find number of different materials which has led the modern world so far in science & technology.
But soon the scientists also realized that these 3 states of matter are only the contrary ones, and there could be much more states of matter under dense and complexed conditions. So this was basically the thought which led to the discovery of much complicated and ionized states like Plasma and Bose Einstein condensate.
As the name suggests, the theory of Bose Einstein condensate was first originated by the ever known modern science encyclopedia Einstein with a collaboration of an Indian scientist named Satyendra Nath Bose. Actually Bose was the main person behind the inception of this insane theory based on ‘quantum state of matter’, in which he had explained that under certain temperature and in complexed inspection, light could be parceled out in tiny packets called quanta, and atoms do form a single continuous wave like structure called quantum. While these quantum states are also differed according to their higher & lower energy levels.
The prediction of this hidden complicated state was done way back in 1920’s by meticulous scientists Satyendra Nath Bose & Albert Einstein. Bose was the first to find out this strange phenomenon of photons, but initially nobody took his findings seriously, so later he decided and sent his findings on quantum statistics of photons (light quanta) to Albert Einstein, who decided to apply Bose’s ideas about light to atoms in a gas. At regular temperature levels, nothing remarkable happened. But when the temperature dropped deliberately close to absolute zero, Einstein believed that the atoms then took on some strange property. All the atoms dropped into the same energy state making them a single composite unit, as there was no way to distinguish anything between them not even spatially.
Hence Einstein found this strange phenomenon extremely true as stated by Bose and decided to work with him. And later due to their combined efforts, the concept of ‘Bosonic atoms’ emerged. It was found that cooling bosonic atoms to very low temperature would lead to their falling or condensation into the lowest acceptable quantum state, giving birth to a “new form of matter”.
Later in 1995, the first practical explanation of Bose Einstein theory gave this phenomenal state an official global level recognition. The first true Bose Einstein condensate was produced by Eric Cornell and Carl Wieman on June 1995 at the University of Colorado. A dilute vapor having 2000 atoms of Rubidium (Rb) was sub cooled to 170 nanokelvin (1.7×10−7 K). The cooling process used was a combination of laser and magnetic evaporative cooling. They found that if Rb atoms are cooled to less than 170 billionths of a degree above zero K (absolute zero temperature), condensation takes place leading to the formation of a super-atom, in which all rubidium atoms behave as one single composite unit.
Hence this practical clearly demonstrated what Bose & Einstein were earlier explaining about the 5th state of matter in early 1920’s. Not only this, but this strange complexed state also explained the dynamics of newly known quantum physics at that time, that quantum states do really exists if inspected under specific circumstances. Many of today’s cutting-edge technologies, smaller & faster computer chips, micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) and quantum computers, lie in the twilight zone between the quantum world and the macroscopic world. Scientists do hope that studying Bose Einstein condensates will advance those technologies and will also create others.