Negative mass or a fluid that moves forward when pushed back

Washington State University physicists have created a fluid with negative mass, which is exactly what it sounds like. Push it, and unlike every physical object in the world we know, it doesn’t accelerate in the direction it was pushed. It accelerates backwards.

The phenomenon is rarely created in laboratory conditions and can be used to explore some of the more challenging concepts of the cosmos, said Michael Forbes, a WSU assistant professor of physics and astronomy and an affiliate assistant professor at the University of Washington.

This bizarre phenomenon will now be used to study some of the universe’s biggest mysteries, including dark energy and black holes.

This video explores the strange consequences of gravity and negative masses:

Negative-Mass Hydrodynamics in a Spin-Orbit

A negative effective mass can be realized in quantum systems by engineering the dispersion relation.

The experimental findings are reproduced by a single-band Gross-Pitaevskii simulation, demonstrating that the emerging features originate from a modified dispersion

Schematic representation of the 1D expansion of a SOC BEC.

 

The asymmetry of the dispersion relation (solid curve) causes an asymmetric expansion of the condensate due to the variation of the effective mass. The dashed lines indicate the effective mass, and the shaded area indicates the region of negative effective mass.

The original article was posted on the Physics Review Letter as an editor suggestion.

Authors of the research

  • M. A. Khamehchi – Department of Physics and Astronomy, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington 99164, USA
  • Khalid Hossain – Department of Physics and Astronomy, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington 99164, USA
  • M. E. Mossman – Department of Physics and Astronomy, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington 99164, USA
  • Yongping Zhang – Quantum Systems Unit, OIST Graduate University, Onna, Okinawa 904-0495, Japan and Department of Physics, Shanghai University, Shanghai 200444, China
  • , Th. Busch – Quantum Systems Unit, OIST Graduate University, Onna, Okinawa 904-0495, Japan
  • , Michael McNeil Forbes Department of Physics and Astronomy, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington 99164, USA and Department of Physics, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98105, USA
  • P. Engels – Department of Physics and Astronomy, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington 99164, USA

Sources

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