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Using ultracold atoms to simulate a model of ferromagnetism that was first proposed 85 years ago has come one step closer because of work done by Matteo Zaccanti of the University of Florence and colleagues in Italy and the US. The team has managed to separate experimental signals from atoms that pair-up to create molecules from signals from free atoms that have aligned their magnetic moments with their neighbours. As well as providing insights into the fundamental nature of magnetic interactions, the research could be used to simulate other interesting systems such as “quantum emulsions”.

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