Understanding Mysterious Quantum Liquids

By measuring fluctuations in quantum liquid using an artificial atom created by nanotechnology, scientists have succeeded in detecting theoretically predicted behavior in non-equilibrium quantum liquid.

The results will likely pioneer a new way to explore quantum “many-body” physics, beyond standard quantum liquids in an equilibrium state. Researchers published their work in the journal Nature.


At left is a conventional single particle system. On the other hand, a many particle system has particles that interact with each other in a quantum mechanical way, acting like a liquid. This so called “quantum liquid” behaves very different from a single particle system. Image credit: Osaka University

Quantum liquids in an equilibrium state can be universally described within a single theory – the so called Landau Fermi liquid theory. But beyond the equilibrium, non-equilibrium properties have still yet to be established and remain an important issue in many-body physics.

Discoveries in the fuzzy area of quantum liquids could open up advancements across the board, since liquid theory is involved in many physical processes, such as cold gases, normal metals, heavy fermions, liquid helium 3 and neutron stars.

Scientists at Osaka University created an experiment to precisely measure the properties of quantum liquid in a non-equilibrium state. Results showed a two-particle scattering process due to residual interaction, exactly as theory predicts. The breakthrough provides strong experimental evidence for further development in many-body physics.

And perhaps most exciting, scientists discovered a new scaling law bridging the gap between equilibrium and non-equilibrium, signaling an as-yet-unknown universality to the non-equilibrium realm.

Researchers stress that this is just the beginning – the achievement will likely open new doors to explore non-equilibrium quantum liquids both experimentally and theoretically.

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