Astronomers observed Quantum 'Fifth State Of Matter' in space for the first time

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="974"] Atom PHOTO: vchal / Getty Images[/caption]

A team of scientists at National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have observed the 'fifth state of matter' for the first time, offering unparalleled insight that could help solve some of the quantum universe's most difficult conundurms, a research stated on Thursday. In July 2018, they had created the 'Coldest spot in space' by taking atoms of a soft metal called Rubidium, and cooled them to temperatures around 100 nanoKevin- one ten miliionth of a kevin above absolute zero which now resulted in a super cold cloud called a Bose Einstein condensate, the exotic fifth state of matter. One that could help in comprehending the quantum properties of ultra cold atoms.

Bose-Einstein Condensates (BEC's)- the existence of which was predicted by Albert Einstein and Indian Mathematician Satyendra Natha Bose almost a century ago are formed when atoms of certain elements are cooled to near absolute zero (0 kevin, minus 273.15 celcius).At this point, the atoms form into a single entity with quantum properties, wherein each particle also functions as a wave of matter. In other words, it is known as the 5th state of matter after solid, liquid, gas and plasma and is formed at a fraction above absolute zero and only in atoms that act like 'Bosons'- one of two types of fundamental particles.

BEC's straddle the line between the macroscopic world governed by forces such as gravity and the microscopic plane, ruled by Quantum Mechanics. Scientists believes that BECs contain vital clues to mysterious phenomena such as 'Dark Energy'- a theoretical form of energy postulated to act in opposition to gravity and to occupy the entire universe and is responsible for it's accelarating expansion.

On Thursday, a team of NASA scientists unveiled the first results from BEC experiments aboard the International Space Station, where particles can be manipulated free from earthly constraints. "Micro gravity allows us to confine atoms with much weaker forces, since we don't have to support them against gravity" Robert Thompson from Calofornia Institute of Technology (CalTech) , Pasadena said.

The discovery can be labelled as a remarkable breakthrough, the creation of a fifth state of matter within the physical confines of a space station through which atoms can now be observed by the scientists as they float entirely unconfined and hence unperturbed by external forces. Reasearch team leader David Avelline said that studying BECs in microgravity opened up a host of research oppurtunities.