Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Physics professor's research part of Best Work of 2006 By Rebecca Wyatt Thomas, OU Web Writer
For a number of years, OU Professor of Physics and Department of Physics Chair Andrei Slavin has collaborated with Professor Sergej Demokritov and Professor Gennady Melkov on research projects related to the physics of magnetism. Since 2001, they have been studying the Bose-Einstein Condensation (BEC) theory in relation to quasi-particles. In 2006, their paper on the topic, titled “Bose-Einstein condensation of quasi-equilibrium magnons at room temperature under pumping,” was cited by Physics Web as one of the 12 best works in physics in 2006.
The research is based around the prediction of Albert Einstein and Satyendra Nath Bose who found that micro-particles having integer value of spin moment, under supercooled condition, will assemble in a single quantum state — condensate. The first such condensate of atoms of alkali metals was produced by 2001 Nobel Prize recipients Eric Cornell and Carl Wieman in 1995.
Slavin and his colleagues began working on the topic after the 2001 Nobel Prize was awarded. The Nobel Prize winners were working with real particles at a very low temperature, close to absolute zero.
“We decided that if Bose-Einstein condensation can be observed for particles, it is also possible for quasi-particles, and at a much higher temperature,” Slavin said.
Demokritov works for the Institute for Applied Physics at the University of Munster in Germany and Melkov works for the Department of Radiophysics at National Taras Schevchenko University of Kiev in the Ukraine. Their research was a global effort.
The group was able to produce a Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC) of magnons, quasi-particles of magnetic excitations, at a temperature much higher than ever before — room temperature. Using microwaves, or electromagnetic waves of a very high frequency-, the group achieved such a high density of magnons, that BEC of magnons took place without supercooling at a room temperature.
Their work was published in the journal “Nature” in September 2006. “Nature,” according to Slavin, is one of the most respected journals in all the Natural Sciences.
Slavin said he plans to continue working with Demokritov and Melkov on projects in the future and continuing to explore the fascinating phenomenon of Bose-Einstein Condensation.
For more information on OU’s physics program, visit the Department of Physics Web site.