Physics Questions People Ask Fermilab
Dear Mr. Blanford:
I recently read an article in Scientific American regarding the Bose - Einstein Condensate. If, provided you had the technology, you could create a nearly pure condensate within an accelerator. Would this prevent the particles from interacting with each other and make the accelerator more efficient since all of the particles would be identical, or would this hinder the efficiency of the accelerator due to the extremely low temperature?
David M. Norris
Unfortunately, nearly all of the particles we accelerate are fermions (i.e. they follow Fermi-Dirac statistics, not Bose-Einstein statistics). Ions of Helium 4 for example might have a chance since they do undergo Bose-Einstein statistics. I doubt it though since quantum effects such as these are small compared to the electromagnetic interaction between the charges on two charged particles. We need charge on the particles in order to accelerate them.
Bose Einstein condensates do make a lot of sense for cold atoms where the atoms are electrically neutral and interact only via weak Van derWaals forces and their relative velocities are small (thermal). Even in our low energy accelerators here, the relative velocities are well above thermal levels. Good question though!
Glenn Blanford, Ph.D.
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