A PHYSICIST has taken working from home during lockdown to a new level by pulling off an Einstein experiment.

Dr Amruta Gadge used quantum technology to create a Bose-Einstein Condensate (BEC) – a single quantum object made up of hundreds of thousands of atoms cooled down to extreme nanokelvin temperatures - more than a billion times colder than freezing.

Dr Gadge, a research fellow in quantum physics and technologies at the University of Sussex, created the BEC at one of the university’s laboratories while working from her home, despite being two miles away.

It is believed to be the first time BEC has been created remotely in a lab that did not already have one, and Dr Gadge said she was “over the moon” when she realised what she had done.

She said: “When the lockdown started, we were worried that we may not be able to keep up with progress of our research, but the whole team made appropriate preparations to work remotely.

“It took extra effort but it was totally worth it.

“The whole team were very excited to have our first BEC and we celebrated over Zoom.”

The BEC can sense very low magnetic fields.

Dr Gadge explained that in the 1920s, physicists Satyendra Nath Bose and Albert Einstein predicted that if a collection of atoms is cooled to very low temperatures, they will start behaving as if they are one big object.

This state, which is the result of unique quantum effects, is known as the fifth state or the Bose Einstein Condensate.

She said: “The implications are more in the technology than basic science.

“We now have the technology that will enable us to do such complex experiments remotely, even in inaccessible areas such as in space or underground. There are also medical applications for BEC, such as brain imaging.

“The main goal of our research is to use these special objects - the Bose-Einstein Condensate - as a probe of a magnetic field. We hope to make a very accurate and sensitive quantum sensor to measure extremely tiny magnetic fields.”

Peter Krüger, professor of experimental physics at the University of Sussex, said: “We are all extremely excited we can continue to conduct our experiments remotely during lockdown, and any possible future lockdowns.

“But there are wider implications beyond our team. Enhancing the capabilities of remote lab control is relevant for research applications aimed at operating quantum technology in inaccessible environments such as space, underground, in a submarine, or in extreme climates.”