The Nobel Prize in Physics 2001

  The Nobel Prize in Physics 2001     


Cooling of alkali atoms towards BEC
Particles or Waves? Both!

Light is often described as waves, but it can also be described as a stream of light particles, photons. Matter is also characterised by this dualism. In the 1920s, Louis de Broglie suggested that a particle can also behave as a wave. The lighter and slower the particles are, the longer their de Broglie wavelength is. In a cold gas, if the particles are near enough to one another, their wavelengths start to overlap. Then the separate waves link to become a single wave, common to all the atoms – Bose-Einstein condensation (BEC) occurs. This is a coherent state of matter, i.e. the atomic waves oscillate together, they are in unison.

More about Louis de Broglie 

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