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The New Quantum Universe, Second Edition by Patrick Walters, Tony Hey

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7 Quantum co-operation and superfluids

. . . there are certain situations in which the peculiarities of quantum mechanics can come out in a special way on a large scale.

Richard Feynman

Laser light

Nowadays, everyone has heard of lasers, and laser light displays are a frequent ingredient of modern rock concerts. Laser light has many applications, ranging from astronomy to hydrogen fusion. What is the special feature of laser light that makes it so useful? The answer to this question involves a property of wave motion known as ‘coherence’, with light photons acting together in a special form of quantum mechanical co-operation. This type of quantum co-operation will turn out to be vital for an understanding of the peculiar behaviour of quantum ‘superfluids’. ...

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