Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Scientists Have Successfully Created The "Fifth State Of Matter" On International Space Station

Scientists are not able to do many types of studies just because the earth's conditions are not favorable for their experiments. Space is an ideal place for such experiments. Recently, scientists at the International Space Station (ISS) conducted a unique experiment and they have succeeded in seeing the "fifth state of matter" in space for the first time. This will help them to learn about many unsolved mysteries of the universe.

When The "Fifth State Of Matter" Occurs?

This special state of matter occurs when atoms of some elements are cooled to a temperature of absolute zero. The absolute zero temperature is 0 Kelvin or -273.15 ° C. Its presence was first estimated by the great scientist Albert Einstein and the Indian mathematician Satyendranath Bose. That is why it is called Bose-Einstein Condensate (BEC). At zero temperatures, atoms start working together as a single unit. Their properties become the same at the quantum level i.e. atoms and even smaller levels. At the quantum level, every particle also behaves like a wave of matter.

Importance Of BEC

This fifth state of matter i.e. BEC works as a line between the world where forces like gravity work and the finer world where the laws of quantum mechanics work. Scientists think that in this state there are hidden signs of many mysterious phenomena, including dark energy, which is said to be responsible for the rapid spread of our universe.

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Why Fifth State Of Matter Can Not Be Created On Earth?

This state or BEC is quite fragile. Slight interference from outside increases its temperature and that state is over. This makes it impossible for scientists to study this state on earth. Disruption of gravity and the magnetic field on the earth hinders the observation of such a state. But there is no such obstruction in space.
On Thursday, a team of scientists from NASA released the first results on this experiment. These experiments were done at the International Space Station where there were no earth restrictions on the particles.

Difference Between BCE Created On Earth And ISS

Robert Thompson of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena said, "because of microgravity, ISS scientists managed to bring atoms together because the gravitational force was not working there."

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Documents of this research published in the journal Nature Astronomy describe shocking differences in the properties of BCE created in the Earth and ISS. While in the Earth's lab environment, this state ends in just a few milliseconds, in the ISS it remained for more than a second. This gave researchers a chance to study its properties. Due to the absence of gravitational force, the effect of the magnetic field on the atoms started increasing. This led to the rapid cooling of atoms and gave them a chance to take clear pictures.

How This State Created?

Scientists believe that creating a fifth state of matter in a place like ISS is not a small achievement. For this, the first bosons, i.e. particles with an equal number of protons and electrons, are cooled to the absolute zero temperature. For this, the laser is used to place those particles in the right place. The slower the atoms move, the colder they become.

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Why The Fifth State Of Matter Could Not Last Long?

As their heat starts to decrease, a magnetic field is created so that the particles cannot move and their wave cannot increase. In this way, by bringing together many boson particles, their waves merge with each other and they all start behaving like a single substance, even at such a small level. This property is called quantum degeneracy. But by removing the magnetic field, this state starts to weaken because it gives the particles an opportunity to get away from each other.

This study will prove to be open to many possibilities for other researchers. It will help in studies ranging from general relativity to dark energy and gravity waves.

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