What Does a Bose-Einstein Condensate Look Like?

Wolfgang Ketterle

In the early '90s, before Bose-Einstein condensation was realized in atomic gases, there were lively debates about what a condensate would look like. Some researchers thought it would absorb all the light and would therefore be "pitch black," some predicted it would be "transparent" (due to superradiant line-broadening), others predicted that it would reflect the light (due to polaritons) and be "shiny" like a mirror.

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