Put an ice cube in a bowl of hot water and loses stability, merging completely.The molecules of ice and water molecules will reach a thermal equilibrium, reaching the same temperature, and will no longer be possible to identify one or the other.This is how a solid crystal orderly ends in the form of a liquid completely disordered.
In the quantum world, however, this transition to a thermal equilibrium is more interesting and more complicated than scientists believed until now.Among the initial ordered state and the amorphous state final, something emerges that is being called “intermediate state almost stationary”.
It is a kind of pre-thermalization, where very clear signs of initial states persist for a long time.According to Jorg Schmiedmayer and colleagues at the Technical University of Vienna, Austria, this may help explain several processes out of balance in quantum physics, which includes the initial state of the Universe moments after the Big Bang, and the loss of data in quantum computers.
Quantum thermal equilibrium
Researchers divided into two a Bose-Einstein condensate, a clump of ultracold atoms that behaves like a single giant atom.But the two halves not walked to thermal equilibrium as expected.The analysis showed that “the two clouds have not forgotten that came from the same atomic cloud,” said Schmiedmayer.
Instead of declining quickly and evenly toward equilibrium, the two have a long layover in now discovered intermediate state, or pre-thermalization.
Avoiding data loss
The transition systems for the thermal balance is important in many fields of quantum physics, including the emerging field of quantum computing .An experiment can never achieve exactly absolute zero , so that scientists are always grappling with the effects of temperature changes.
Make calculations using qubits or quantum memories for storing data inevitably creates non-equilibrium states, which destroys the data.The new knowledge gained from this experiment could help prevent such data loss.