Scientists have rewritten the known laws of physics after hitting a temperature lower than absolute zero. Physicists at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Germany created a quantum gas using potassium atoms, fixing them in a standard lattice group using magnetic fields and lasers. When the magnetic fields were rapidly adjusted, the atoms shifted from a low energy state to their highest possible energy state. That rapid transition — along with the laser trapping field that kept the atoms in place — allowed the temperature of the gas to dip "a few billionths of a Kelvin below absolute zero."
The intriguing breakthrough could lead to "new forms of matter"
The intriguing breakthrough could lead to the creation of "new forms of matter" in laboratories, but there are some side effects. Normally a cloud of atoms would be pulled downward by gravity, but some atoms in a group that’s below absolute zero could instead float upwards. Affected atoms in the modified gas also appear to mimic dark energy — hypothetically responsible for the expansion of the universe — by avoiding collapsing in on themselves.