Physicists explored the nature of quantum chaos: Why the thermodynamics stopped working

Physicists explored the nature of quantum chaos: Why the thermodynamics stopped working

Quantum physics violates all rules, for example, classical laws of thermodynamics describing how heat and energy travel turn into "recommendations" that can be neglected in the case of the smallest particles.

In some experiments, scientists have discovered that an object can cool down, although it's with something much hotter, and scientists say that it's like getting a hot pan out of a oven, and the arm didn't heat up, but rather cooled down.

To find out what was happening to quantum chaos and how he managed to stay outside the laws of thermodynamics, physicists experimented with ultra-cold lithium atoms and a laser.

Anomalous chaos

If you take a normal pendulum and push it from one side to another from time to time, it will absorb the energy of the impact and rock, moving chaoticly in space. Despite the seemingly accidental movement, it is easily described by equations that take into account the impulses and directions that the pendulum has obtained during the exposure process.

In the quantum world, things aren't so clear. Instead of moving disorder, they can cause particles to stop. And at the beginning of the experiment, the quantum pendulum can absorb energy as well as mechanical, over time, with repeated effects, it will go to the plateau and distribute the pulse in a dynamically localized state.

To explain this anomaly for individual particles, scientists have used mathematics, and they believe that quantum mechanical waves are likely to fluctuate and run into each other in such a way that crests and falls occur and rule out any possibility of energy absorption by particle.

But what happens in the real world, when interaction occurs between many particles, for example, in a system that contains many colliding electrons, has remained a mystery after decades of debate.

Multiple localization

In order to understand what must happen, scientists suggest that a cup of coffee and milk be poured into it. If cold milk is poured into hot coffee, the particles mix over time, and the whole drink comes into a homogeneous state. This process is called thermalization, and it was previously thought that it should be observed in any system.

Over the past few decades, scientists have realized that this is not always the case, and it turns out that in quantum chaos leads to the localization of many bodies, which means that the system cannot achieve thermal equilibrium and preserves memory of its initial state in local areas for an indefinite period of time.

What did scientists do?

To test how a complex system of multiple particles would behave, scientists used lithium gas, and they put about 100,000 ultra-cold atoms into a vertical wave of light, each of which was a quantum rotor that could be triggered by a laser pulse.

Scientists explain that they forced atoms to collide and fly in different directions or to use Feshbach's resonance to keep them together, which is the effect of two slow cold atoms colliding temporarily and forming an unstable bond with a short life span.

When the particles did not interact, researchers saw the expected result: the particles were slightly heated before they reached constant temperature; when researchers adjusted the experiment so that the atoms could interact a little bit, they first saw the temperature plateau at the same level; but unlike the single-dimensional theory of the atoms, they eventually started to heat again, although not as fast as normal thermodynamics predicted.

The new state did not correspond to the classical thermodynamics or the expected behaviour of the localized multitude of bodies. The hypothesis that scientists had explored did not imply such a result, but the same behavior describes another theory. It applies to very cold groups of particles that form the condensate of Boze-Einstein. It is a phase of a substance in which all particles have the same quantum state.

The equations describing Boze's condensate, Einstein, predict the rate of slow heating just as they did in the experiments, and it's amazing here that the atoms studied by scientists weren't that condensate.

We don't really know why this is happening, but there's a theory that doesn't have to work, but it kind of works.

Why does it matter?

Observed plateau shows that interactions do not always force particles to comply with the laws of thermodynamics. By studying how micro-level laws change, physicists hope to form a new theory that links the behavior of matter in both micro- and macro-scale.

Such experiments may not only open up a new quantum physics, but also lead to the development of new research tools. If the physics underlying these experiments can be "dissolved", scientists believe that the temperature plateaux may one day be expanded and used to develop new and better quantum technologies.