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Bose-Einstein Condensate


Definition: A Bose-Einstein condensate is a rare state (or phase) of matter in which a large percentage of bosons collapse into their lowest quantum state, allowing quantum effects to be observed on a macroscopic scale. The bosons collapse into this state in circumstances of extremely low temperature, near the value of absolute zero.

Satyendra Nath Bose developed statistical methods, later utilized by Albert Einstein, to describe the behavior of massless photons and massive atoms, as well as other bosons. This "Bose-Einstein statistics" described the behavior of a "Bose gas" composed of uniform particles of integer spin (i.e. bosons). When cooled to extremely low temperatures, Bose-Einstein statistics predicts that the particles in a Bose gas will collapse into their lowest accessible quantum state, creating a new form of matter, which is called a superfluid. This is a specific form of condensation which has special properties.

Bose-Einstein condensates were a purely theoretical conjecture until experimentally observed by Eric Cornell & Carl Wieman at the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1995, for which they received the 2001 Nobel prize.

Also Known As: superfluid
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