Physicists have created a "negative mass"

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2017-04-20 14:30:05

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Physics of the University of Washington have created a fluid with negative mass. Push it, and unlike all the physical objects in the world that we know, it will not accelerate in the direction of the push. It will accelerate in the opposite direction. This phenomenon is rarely generated in laboratory conditions and can be used to explore some of the more complex concepts about space, says Michael Forbes, associate Professor, physicist, and astronomer at the University of Washington. The study appeared in Physical Review Letters.

Hypothetically, the substance may have a negative mass in the same sense in which an electric charge can be both negative and positive. People rarely think about this, and our everyday world shows only the positive aspects of the Second law of motion Isaac Newton, according to which the force acting on a body equals the mass of the body on to inform this power acceleration, or F = ma.

In Other words, if you push an object it will accelerate in the direction of your push. The mass will accelerate it in the direction of the force.

"We have got used to the situation," says Forbes, anticipating the surprise. "With negative mass, if you something does push, it will accelerate towards you."

Conditions for a negative mass

Together with colleagues, he created the conditions for a negative mass, cooling rubidium atoms to a state of almost absolute zero, thus creating a condensate of Bose — Einstein. In this state, predicted by Satyendranath Bose and albert Einstein, the particles are moving very slowly and following the principles of quantum mechanics, behaving as waves. They are also synchronized and move in unison in the form of a superfluid, which flows without loss of energy.

Under the leadership of Peter Engels, a Professor of physics and astronomy at Washington University, scientists on the sixth floor of Webster Hall has created these conditions, using lasers to slow down the particles, making them more cool and allowing hot, high-energy particles to escape like a couple, even more cool stuff.

Lasers have taken over the atoms as if they were in the Cup size of less than one hundred microns. At this stage superfluid rubidium had the usual mass. The gap of the bowl allowed the rubidium to escape, expanding as soon as the rubidium in the centre pushed out.

To create negative mass, the scientists used a second set of lasers, which pushed the atoms back and forth, changing their spin. Now, when the rubidium runs fast enough, it behaves as if it has negative mass. "Push it and it will accelerate in the opposite direction," says Forbes. "If the rubidium beating on the invisible wall."

Eliminating the major defects

Method used by researchers at Washington University, helped to avoid some of the major defects in previous attempts to understand negative mass.

"the First thing we realized is that we have careful control over the nature of this negative mass without any other complications," says Forbes. Their study explains, from the position of the negative mass, such behavior in other systems. Greater control gives researchers new tool for developing experiments to study such physics in astrophysics, for example, neutron stars and cosmological phenomena such as black holes and dark energy, where the experiments are simply impossible.

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