Solving hard quantum problems: Everything is connected
- Published: Tuesday, 15 March 2016 06:00
Waves in a Bose-Einstein condensate: a many-particle effect.
New methods for many-body quantum calculations
Quantum systems are extremely hard to analyze if they consist of more than just a few parts. It is not difficult to calculate a single hydrogen atom, but in order to describe an atom cloud of several thousand atoms, it is usually necessary to use rough approximations. The reason for this is that quantum particles are connected to each other and cannot be described separately. Kaspar Sakmann (TU Wien, Vienna) and Mark Kasevich (Stanford, USA) have now shown in an article published in Nature Physics that this problem can be overcome. They succeeded in calculating effects in ultra-cold atom clouds which can only be explained in terms of the quantum correlations between many atoms. Such atom clouds are known as Bose-Einstein condensates and are an active field of research.