Sussex Uni physicist creates the fifth state of matter whilst working from home

A Sussex physicist has had a scientific breakthrough during lockdown.

A researcher from the quantum physics and technologies department at the University of Sussex has created the state of fifth form matter from her computer at home during lockdown.

Dr Amruta Gadge has successfully created a Bose-Einstein Condensate (BEC) – a state of matter where atoms cooled to extreme temperatures clump together and act like one single object. This is thought to be the first time that a BEC has been created in remote conditions, which were made unavoidable due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Despite the closure of university research facilities, Dr Gadge was able to use her computer at home in her living room to control lasers and radio waves that would create the BEC. This development by Sussex’s Quantum Systems & Devices research group will have applications in magnetic field research, as well as in medicine, Dr Gadge told The Argus.

This feat marks a step in the path towards operating quantum technology remotely, which could be extremely useful for accessing difficult environments, such as underground or in space.

Dr Gadge and the rest of the team celebrated the achievement in true lockdown style via a Zoom call.

Professer of experimental physics at Sussex University, Peter Krüger, told The Argus, “We are all extremely excited that we can continue to conduct our experiments remotely during lockdown, and any possible future lockdowns.”