Unexpected behavior of atom clouds challenges existing theories

(Vienna University of Technology) Clouds of ultra-cold atoms are a perfect model system to study fundamental questions of many-particle quantum physics. Now the research team of Professor Jörg Schmiedmayer (Institute of Atomic and Subatomic Physics, TU Wien) has found remarkable results which cannot be explained by any of the existing theories. When two ultra-cold quantum gases are coupled, they can synchronize spontaneously, oscillating in perfect unison after just a few milliseconds. This means that textbook theories about Bose-Einstein-Condensates have to be revisited.