Stunning news came from Harvard University (USA), where a team of physicists led by Kan-Kuen Ni managed to cool matter to a record level of one millionth of a degree from absolute zero. And not at all for the sake of achievement itself - scientists under these conditions conducted a complete observation of the passage of a chemical reaction, having seen what was previously considered impossible.
Cooling to such values introduces the molecules of the substance into a state of "hypothermic coma", limiting their movement and activity. However, even in this state, the molecules continue to participate in chemical reactions, combine and split, but they do it much more slowly. Instead of one trillionth of a second, the process began to take one millionth - it's as if you sneezed and a 0.5 second sneeze stretched out to 139 hours.
When all processes slow down so, amazing things are revealed - for the first time, scientists were able to see the states of molecules not only "before" and "after" the reaction, but also in the middle of the process. To do this, Kan-Kuen Ni's team used an array of ultra-fast lasers that are too slow under normal conditions. Now the capabilities of the instruments are almost equal or significantly closer to the indicators existing in the real microcosm.
Ultracold takes research into a completely different plane, and most of all, I suppose, quantum physicists will be delighted with it. The ability to so detailed, to decompose into fragments processes and phenomena that were previously considered integral and instantaneous, opens up new horizons for them. But the same can be said by chemists, biologists, physicists from other fields, and the entire scientific world in general.