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Measuring correlations at the critical temperature of a dilute Bose gas

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Phase transitions are among the most dramatic phenomena in nature. Minute variations in the conditions controlling a system trigger a fundamental change of its properties. In the critical regime near a second-order phase transition point the fluctuations of the order parameter are so dominant that they completely govern the behavior of the system on all length scales. Using cold atomic gases, we have directly observed critical fluctuations of the order parameter near the phase transition of Bose-Einstein condensation. From the divergence of the correlation length versus temperature we have determined its critical exponent nu. Despite our densities being nine orders of magnitude smaller and our interactions considerably weaker, we find a remarkable similarity to case of the lambda-transition of Helium-4.

This talk is part of the Quantum Matter Seminar series.

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