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News Picks : Bose–Einstein condensate used to simulate a magnetic monopole

By: Physics Today
30 January 2014
Nature: Magnetic monopoles—first proposed by Paul Dirac in 1931—are theoretical counterparts to electrostatic positive and negative charges. Researchers have suggested that the monopoles were created during the Big Bang. Although no one has found direct evidence of them, researchers have created several physical analogues that reproduce some of the magnetic monopoles' predicted properties. Now David Hall at Amherst College in Massachusetts and his colleagues have developed another analogue using a Bose–Einstein condensate of 1 million rubidium atoms. They manipulated the magnetic spins of the individual particles to create a whirlpool-like pattern centered around a point that represented a monopole. The arrangement of the surrounding particles duplicated the monopole's effect. Although the collection of particles was not itself magnetic, the equations that governed its behavior are equivalent to those that describe Dirac's theoretical particles.


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