Heidelberg University

Ultracold quantum matter: what can you do with atoms and neutrons

Lauriane Chomaz and Skyler Degenkolb, Heidelberg University


Low-temperature physics is one of the few fields where laboratory science has surpassed naturally-occuring phenomena by many orders of magnitude. Besides cryogenic methods for cooling condensed matter into the "ultralow" temperature range from ~0.5K down to micro-Kelvin, trapped ensembles of "ultracold" particles are routinely used for experiments in the milli- to pico-Kelvin temperature regime. At such low temperatures the thermal kinetic energy plays a less dominant role, such that more-fundamental aspects of the particles and their interactions can be revealed and studied in detail. Ultracold gases of atoms or neutrons thus provide a powerful platform to investigate quantum dynamics and fundamental physics -- whether by engineering new phases of matter, achieving high-fidelity quantum logic operations, or answering basic questions about the first moments after the Big Bang. These lectures will present the key experimental techniques for producing and studying ultracold atoms and neutrons, as well as some selected highlights illustrating their use in cutting-edge modern experiments.