Laser-Cooled Plasma

Physicists Created Laser-Cooled Plasma 50 Times Colder than Universe

The researchers have created world’s first laser-cooled plasma that is 50 times colder than the Universe. The laser-cooled plasma is made by scientists for the first time that will be used to simulate some of the hottest and most exotic matter in the deep space.

This “paradoxical work” will give scientists an opportunity to study some of the most exotic matter in the Universe, such as the dense gases found in white dwarf stars, as well as make progress in fusion energy research.

Laser-cooled plasma is the fourth state of matter that is composed of ions and free electrons. As mentioned on their official website “Plasma is usually produced in extremely high temperature environments, such as the surface of the Sun, but in even more extreme environments (like at the center of an ultra-dense white dwarf star or Jupiter) plasma begins to behave in unusual ways that are difficult to replicate in a lab on Earth”.

According to the physicists, one of the highest motivations for making this ultra-cold plasma was to study a phenomenon known as “strong coupling.”

“Repulsive forces are normally like a whisper at a rock concert,” Tom Killian, a physicist at Rice University and lead author of the research, said in a statement. “They’re drowned out by all the kinetic noise in the system.”

Laser-Cooled Plasma
The laser array used to create the ultra cold plasma. Image: Rice University_image

“We are just at the beginning of exploring the implications of strong coupling in ultracold plasmas,” Killian said. “I hope this will improve our models of exotic, strongly coupled astrophysical plasmas, but I am sure we will also make discoveries that we haven’t dreamt of yet.”

Here you may watch the video of the research, which appears in the January 5 issue of Science, opens a frontier where experimental atomic and plasma physicists can coax matter to behave in bizarre new ways.

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