Dr Amruta Gadge, a physicist based in the UK, has reportedly created the fifth state of matter, while working from home, during the coronavirus lockdown. She has reportedly used her computer to conduct the experiments remotely during the ongoing lockdown. According to the Lab News, Dr Gadge, who works in the Quantum Systems and Devices Laboratory at the University of Sussex, has created a Bose-Einstein Condensate (BEC) — considered to be the fifth state of matter (where cold atoms comprise together like a single entity). Researchers at the university’s quantum department believe this is the first time someone has created BEC remotely in a lab.

Indian-origin physicist stays two miles away from the lab. She reportedly used the technology on her computer to control lasers and radio waves and create the BEC. Now, researchers are saying that this achievement could provide a blueprint for operating quantum tech in space or underwater.

Key Takeaways:

  • Dr Amruta Gadge from the Quantum Systems and Devices Laboratory has created a Bose-Einstein Condensate (BEC) – considered to be the fifth state of matter.
  • Peter Krüger, professor of experimental physics at the University of Sussex, believes the fifth state of matter is “produced when the atoms in a gas become ionized.”
  • This research is based on the prediction of Albert Einstein and Indian physicist Satyendra Nath Bose from mid-1920s which stated that quantum mechanics can be used as a force to clump a large number of particles to behave like a single particle, thus the research of fifth matter was introduced.

What is the fifth state of matter?

The development research of the fifth state of matter follows after the establishment of other four matters — solid, liquid, gas and plasma. Peter Krüger, professor of experimental physics at the University of Sussex, believes the fifth state of matter is “produced when the atoms in a gas become ionized.”

Talking about the experiment and having a satisfactory result in hand, he said, “We are all extremely excited that we can continue to conduct our experiments remotely during lockdown, and any possible future lockdowns.”

This research is based on the prediction of Albert Einstein and Indian physicist Satyendra Nath Bose from mid-1920s which stated that quantum mechanics can be used as a force to clump a large number of particles to behave like a single particle, thus the research of fifth matter was introduced. “Enhancing the capabilities of remote lab control is relevant for research applications aimed at operating quantum technology in inaccessible environments such as space, underground, in a submarine, or in extreme climates,” Peter further added.

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When asked Dr Gadge about her complex experiments and calculations, and how she managed to do it from her home, she explained, “The research team has been observing lockdown and working from home and so we have not been able to access our labs for weeks. The process has been a lot slower than if I had been in the lab as the experiment is unstable and I’ve had to give 10 to 15 minutes of cooling time between each run.”

She concluded, “This is obviously not as efficient and way more laborious to do manually because I’ve not been able to do systematic scans or fix the instability like I could working in the lab. But we were determined to keep our research going so we have been exploring new ways of running our experiments remotely.”

Why the fifth state of matter is important

Researchers claim this is an important feat in modern science as it could help them to operate quantum tech remotely in otherwise inaccessible environments like space or underwater.

“This is obviously not as efficient and way more laborious to do manually because I’ve not been able to do systematic scans or fix the instability like I could working in the lab. But we were determined to keep our research going so we have been exploring new ways of running our experiments remotely.”

The professor explained, “We use multiple carefully timed steps of laser and radio wave cooling to prepare rubidium gases at these ultra-low temperatures. This requires accurate computer control of laser light, magnets and electric currents in microchips based on vigilant monitoring of environmental conditions in the lab while nobody is able to be there to check in person.”

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