From Ashley Yeager of Duke's Office of News and Communications: "Using lasers to contain some ultra-chilled atoms, a team of scientists have measured the viscosity or stickiness of a gas often considered to be the sixth state of matter. The measurements verify that this gas can be used as a “scale model” of exotic matter, such as super-high temperature superconductors, the nuclear matter of neutron stars, and even the state of matter created microseconds after the Big Bang."
"The results may also allow experimental tests of string theory in the future."
"Duke physicist John Thomas made the viscosity measurements using an ultra-cold Fermi gas of lithium-6 atoms trapped in a millimeter-sized bowl made of laser light. When cooled and placed inside a magnetic field of the correct size, the atoms interact as strongly as the laws of quantum mechanics allow. This strongly interacting gas exhibits “remarkable properties,” such as nearly frictionless fluid flow, Thomas said."
"The team's report appears in the Dec. 10 issue of Science."
Read the full press release here. Congratulations to Prof. Thomas and his team!