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Observation of Bose-Einstein Condensation in a Dilute Atomic Vapor

M. H. Anderson, J. R. Ensher, M. R. Matthews, C. E. Wieman and E. A. Cornell
Science
New Series, Vol. 269, No. 5221 (Jul. 14, 1995), pp. 198-201
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2888436
Page Count: 4
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Observation of Bose-Einstein Condensation in a Dilute Atomic Vapor
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Abstract

A Bose-Einstein condensate was produced in a vapor of rubidium-87 atoms that was confined by magnetic fields and evaporatively cooled. The condensate fraction first appeared near a temperature of 170 nanokelvin and a number density of 2.5 × 10$^{12}$ per cubic centimeter and could be preserved for more than 15 seconds. Three primary signatures of Bose-Einstein condensation were seen. (i) On top of a broad thermal velocity distribution, a narrow peak appeared that was centered at zero velocity. (ii) The fraction of the atoms that were in this low-velocity peak increased abruptly as the sample temperature was lowered. (iii) The peak exhibited a nonthermal, anisotropic velocity distribution expected of the minimum-energy quantum state of the magnetic trap in contrast to the isotropic, thermal velocity distribution observed in the broad uncondensed fraction.

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