The physicists first measured the state of light and matter

The physicists first measured the state of light and matter

For the first time, the lab created a special state of communication between the atoms using a laser beam, and it was polarized so that they would be charged positively on one side and negative on the other. This makes them draw together, creating a completely distinct state of communication. It is much weaker than it is between two atoms in a normal molecule, but still measurable. The laser beam is a "moleculum" of light and matter.

Theoretically, this effect was predicted long ago, but now scientists from the Center for Quantum Science and Technology of the University of Vienna, in cooperation with the University of Innsbrook, were able to measure this exotic atomic bond for the first time. Such interaction is useful for the management of extremely cold atoms. It can also play a role in the formation of molecules in space. The results of the study are published in the scientific journal Physical Review X.

In the electric neutral atom, the positively charged atomic core is surrounded by negative charged electrons that surround it like a cloud. If the external electric field is turned on, the charge distribution will shift slightly. "The charge is slightly displaced in one direction, negative in the other, the atom suddenly has positive and negative sides, it is polarized," explains Professor Philippe Haslinger, whose research at the Atom Institute of Vienna Technical University is supported by the FWF START programme.

Light is an electromagnetic field that changes very quickly, so the polarization effect can also be created by laser radiation. When several atoms are adjacent to each other, laser light polarizes them equally, positive to the left and negative to the right, or vice versa. In both cases, two adjacent atoms turn different charges to each other, resulting in gravity.