Condensed Matter

Category archives for Condensed Matter

The first of the five categories of active research at DAMOP that I described in yesterday’s post is “Ultracold Matter.” The starting point for this category of research is laser cooling to get a gas of atoms down to microkelvin temperatures (that is, a few millionths of a degree above absolute zero. Evaporative cooling can…

That’s the title of my slightly insane talk at the DAMOP (Division of Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics of the American Physical Society) conference a couple of weeks ago, summarizing current topics of interest in Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics. I’ll re-embed the slides at the end of this post, for anyone who missed my…

That’s the title of my talk this morning at DAMOP, where I attempt the slightly insane feat of summarizing a meeting with over 1000 presentations in a single 30-minute talk. This will necessarily involve talking a little bit like the person reading the legal notices at the end of a car commercial, and a few…

You may or may not have noticed that I’ve been making a concerted effort to do more ResearchBlogging posts explaining notable recent results. I’ve been trying to get at least one per week posted, and coming fairly close to that. I’ve been pretty happy with the fake Q&A format that I’ve settled into, and while…

Several years ago, now, a group at Penn State announced a weird finding in helium at extremely low temperatures and high pressures (which is what you need to make helium solidify): when they made a pendulum out of a cylindrical container with a thin shell of solid He toward the outside edge, twisting about its…

BEC: What Is It Good For?

Another response copied/adapted from the Physics Stack Exchange. The question was: What are the main practical applications that a Bose-Einstein condensate can have? Bose Einstein Condensation, for those who aren’t familiar with it, is a phenomenon where a gas of particles with the right spin properties cooled to a very low temeprature will suddenly “condense”…

Poll: Top Physics Story of 2010?

It’s the last week of the (calendar) year, which means it’s a good time to recap the previous twelve months worth of scientific news. Typically, publications like Physics World will publish a list of top ten physics stories of 2010, but we’re all Web 2.0 these days, so it seems more appropriate to put this…

Physics Is All About Analogies

Regular commenter onymous left a comment to my review of Warped Passages that struck me as a little odd: The extended analogy between the renormalization group and a bureaucracy convinced me that she was trying way too hard to make sophisticated concepts comprehensible. Also, I’m not really sure that analogies are the best way to…

The 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics goes to Geim and Novoselov for their work on graphene, a material consisting of one-atom-thick sheets of carbon atoms in a hexagonal array. This is one of those prizes that was basically inevitable, as graphene is one of the hot materials of the last couple of years. Hardly a…

Melting Simulated Insulators

The Joerg Heber post that provided one of the two papers for yesterday’s Hanbury Brown Twiss-travaganza also included a write-up of a new paper in Nature on Mott insulators, which was also written up in Physics World. Most of the experimental details are quite similar to a paper by Markus Greiner’s group I wrote up…