Molecules are whizzing in the air around us, constantly colliding with each other at speeds of hundreds of miles per hour. This behavior is normal at ambient temperatures, but if temperatures were to plunge to near absolute zero, these molecules would come to a screeching halt, becoming an exotic state of matter that has never been observed by scientists.
Experimental physicists of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have successfully cooled atoms in a gas of sodium potassium to temperatures just a little over absolute zero, and over a million times colder than interstellar space.
The super chilled atoms are the coldest molecules that scientists have ever created. This research could reveal the wild behavior of the molecules under the coldest temperature.
The scientists have found that the super chilled molecules do not react with other molecules and are stable. Superchilled molecules exhibited very strong dipole moments as well. Researchers have spotted strong imbalances in electric charge within molecules which mediate magnet-like forces between molecules over large distances.
Martin Zwierlein, lead researcher and Physics professor from MIT, expounded that molecules are packed with lots of energy. Instead, superchilled molecules experience the lowest vibrational and rotational states, based on R&D Magazine.
Physicists picked sodium potassium because it is the simplest class of molecules. Its structure consists of just two atoms, one each of potassium and sodium combined together. As per a Live Science report, a magnetic field is used to combine them while a laser tool is used for cooling.
The theoretical properties of superchilled molecules are quite strange when compared to the behavior of molecules at room temperature.
Zwierlein said that superchilled molecules provide different states of matter including superfluid crystals. Scientists are thrilled to see more effects of the super cold temperature on molecules.