It is through our senses that we first understand the world. The quantum world remains largely elusive through these senses. Hence the difficulty in understanding it. But things may change now that physicists have succeeded “to touch” Quantum object.
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The world of quantum physics is strange, to say the least. It is so different from our own that we easily imagine it to be intangible. But physicists love challenges. So they searched for an answer to this question that was on the lips of all scholars, and perhaps even a few of the curious among you: “What does it feel like to touch a quantum object?” »
Touching a super-quantum liquid with a probe
Physicists from Lancaster University (UK) report today in the paper Nature Communications How did they (almost) touch superfluid helium-3?3Hey). To make it a superliquid, researchers must maintain the helium in question at a temperature about one ten-thousandth of a degree above absolute zero. So it’s impossible to think about actually dipping a finger in it.
Therefore, the researchers implemented a complex protocol. They were finally able to dip a finger-sized probe into it. A probe whose goal was to transmit thermodynamic information to physicists. It worked. They concluded that most superfluids behave like a vacuum. So, if you dip your finger in it, a 2D surface will form around it, so the reaction will only occur with the 2D liquid.
Two-dimensional impression of superfluids
It’s weird ? Yes. But it’s quantum… Anyway, this work, in addition to satisfying a little of our curiosity, also gives new insight into this superfluid that has been extensively studied by scientists. At the lowest temperatures and energies, the helium-3 superfluid is thermomechanically two-dimensional. The implications could go beyond quantum physics to shake up particle physics or even cosmology.
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