Atoms with Quantum-Memory
28. Feb 2013 — Order tends towards disorder. This is also true for quantum states. Measurements at the Vienna University of Technology show that in quantum mechanics this transition can be quite different from what we experience in our daily lives.
© TU Wien
Ice cubes in a cocktail glass melt until an equilibrium state is reached in which the ice cubes are gone. After that, the geometric shape of the ice cubes is completely lost. The liquid does not contain any memory of their shape, the ordered ice crystal has turned into disordered water molecules. Ultra cold Bose-Einstein condensates behave differently; these highly ordered clouds of ultra cold particles also approach a disordered equilibrium state, but they retain some “memory” about their initial state for a remarkably long time. This phenomenon does not depend on the temperature, it seems to be a stable, fundamental property of quantum physics.