鶹Ƶ

Physics

Atoms at temperatures beyond absolute zero may be a new form of matter

Physicists have coaxed a cloud of atoms into having a temperature beyond absolute zero and placed them in a geometric structure that could produce an unknown form of matter

By Karmela Padavic-Callaghan

7 June 2024

The temperature of atoms is determined by their energy and entropy

agsandrew/Shutterstock

A cloud of atoms with a temperature beyond absolute zero – which is also bizarrely hotter than any positive temperature imaginable – could be a mysterious new quantum state of matter.

at the University of Cambridge and his colleagues have put thousands of potassium atoms into this seemingly paradoxical situation by precisely manipulating their energy levels and quantum states. “Quantum mechanics allows you to do this, while classical thermodynamics would never allow it,” he says.

Normally, if…

Sign up to our weekly newsletter

Receive a weekly dose of discovery in your inbox! We'll also keep you up to date with 鶹Ƶ events and special offers.

Sign up

To continue reading, today with our introductory offers

No commitment, cancel anytime*

Offer ends 2nd of July 2024.

*Cancel anytime within 14 days of payment to receive a refund on unserved issues.

Inclusive of applicable taxes (VAT)

or

Existing subscribers

Sign in to your account