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Researchers confirm universal principles of phase transitions

University of Chicago

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IMAGE: An optical lattice lines up gaseous cesium atoms. As the lattice is shaken, the atoms are driven across a ferromagnetic phase transition. view more

Credit: The authors.

New research conducted at the University of Chicago has confirmed a decades-old theory describing the dynamics of continuous phase transitions.

The findings, published in the Nov. 4 issue of Science, provide the first clear demonstration of the Kibble-Zurek mechanism for a quantum phase transition in both space and time. Prof. Cheng Chin and his team of UChicago physicists observed the transition in gaseous cesium atoms at temperatures near absolute zero.

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