American scientists for the first time created a quantum object, which is called a domain wall, in the laboratory.
Domain walls form when groups of atoms at very low temperatures separate into different groups or “domains”. A “wall” is formed between these domains, which behaves differently than the atoms themselves. Therefore, scientists consider it an independent quantum object. Now physicists have managed to create them in the laboratory. The discovery could lead to new quantum technology and a better understanding of quantum particles in general.
“It’s like a sand dune in the desert – it’s made up of sand, but the dune itself doesn’t behave like individual grains of sand,” Kai-Xuan Yao, the study’s first author, explains in a statement from the University of Chicago. There have been studies of domain walls before, but until now they have never been created in the laboratory, which would give scientists the opportunity to analyze them in new ways.
This time, physicists have simulated a Bose-Einstein condensate. This is a state of matter in which the constituent particles are cooled to such an extent that they condense into a single quantum object. By setting up certain conditions, the scientists were able to separate the atoms in the condensate into high and low density domains with a wall in between. She acted like a completely separate entity. For example, pushing atoms in one direction caused the wall to move in the opposite direction.
It turns out that domain walls belong to the category of emerging or emergent structures. In them, the particles behave differently than individually. The study of such phenomena will shed light on the events that took place in the early universe. Also, the ability to generate such quantum objects can help in the development of new technologies. For example, they can be used to create a more reliable way to store quantum information or implement new functions in materials.