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International Cold Atom Network

This is the homepage of the International Cold Atom Network (INTERCAN). The aim of this network is to promote European Research and Education in the domain of Ultracold Dilute Atomic Systems and their Applications. It provides a European platform for information exchange and collaboration for some 300 senior physicists and 250 PhD-students in the European Union. INTERCAN aims to define the European Research Space for the field of Cold Atoms at large. As a bottom-up initiative, it is funded since 2005 by contributions from the participating countries.

Cold Atoms, Molecules and Gases - Quantum Matter

This research domain started with the development of the powerful methods for cooling and trapping of cold atoms. Clouds of interacting cold atoms where shown to behave as quantum gases. These gases can be long-lived as a result of the quantum mechanical nature of the interatomic collisions at ultralow temperatures. In many cases the interactions between the atoms can be varied in situ with externally applied fields. Quantum gases are studied in magnetic and optical traps, typically at temperatures around 1 microkelvin and densities up to 1014 atoms/cm-3.

The cooling and trapping of quantum gases opened the way to the observation of degenerate quantum behavior in gases, in particular Bose-Einstein condensation (BEC), which was first obtained in 1995. Since then, this field of research has developed extremely rapidly. Many European research groups have played an important role in this development, some of them being recognized as leading world-wide. Two Nobel prizes in Physics, in 1997 and in 2001, have been awarded in recognition of the progress made in this field.

Presently, the field is diversifying in many directions, varying from the investigation of the condensed matter properties of degenerate Bose and Fermi gases to cold Rydberg gases, atoms in optical lattices, the creation of ultracold molecules, the manipulation of atoms on atom chips and the development of linear and non-linear matter wave optics for atomic systems. The field is firmly anchored in theoretical physics and has important applications, such as in quantum information processing, cold atomic clocks and novel high precision sensors based on (cold) atom interferometry.


Support for conferences, workshops and schools
Promotion of European honors courses at master/early PhD level
Promotion of technical knowledge exchange
Support for short term exchange of researchers and students
Support for short term guests

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