FLEET's quantum-gas laboratory at Swinburne University of Technology
Original Published Date: 
Thursday, April 23, 2020

Full article issued by The ARC Centre of Excellence in Future Low-Energy Electronics Technologies (FLEET).

ARC-supported Swinburne University of Technology research has examined the propagation of energy as sound waves in a quantum gas, revealing for the first time strong variations in the nature of the sound wave as a function of temperature.

By propagating sound waves through a special super-cooled lithium gas, Professor Chris Vale and colleagues at Swinburne were able to very precisely tune the interactions between the individual atoms in the gas. At super-cool temperatures, the physical properties of the gas are strongly affected by temperature, which allowed the precise testing of theories of interacting quantum particles.

The researchers found that sound waves can travel through the super-cool gas with far greater coherence than at higher temperatures, that is, there were fewer collisions between 'phonons'—the fundamental particles of sound.

The results of the study are of great interest for the understanding of novel materials, which are fundamental to the mission of FLEET: to reduce the energy used in information and communication technology (ICT) through new low-energy electronics. At least eight per cent of global electricity use is already gobbled up by our modern societies' use of ICT, and this amount is doubling every decade.

Photo credit: 

Image: FLEET's quantum-gas laboratory at Swinburne University of Technology. Credit: FLEET.