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Archive for the ‘particle physics’ category

Jan 11, 2020

Scientists Have Successfully Built a Particle Accelerator Onto a Silicon Chip

Posted by in categories: computing, particle physics

Particle accelerators like the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) are incredibly useful – and usually incredibly huge – instruments for studying some of the fundamentals of particle physics. But now scientists have managed to squeeze one on to a silicon chip.

It’s nowhere near as powerful as the bigger versions, as you might expect, but the new particle accelerator chip could still be very helpful for researchers who aren’t able to access gigantic particle accelerator setups.

While this first model is only a prototype, the team behind it is hopeful that it’s a first step towards providing a more compact alternative to the well-known massive particle accelerators, including the LHC and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.

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Jan 10, 2020

‘Superdiamond’ carbon-boron cages can trap and tap into different properties

Posted by in categories: materials, particle physics

A long-sought-after class of “superdiamond” carbon-based materials with tunable mechanical and electronic properties was predicted and synthesized by Carnegie’s Li Zhu and Timothy Strobel. Their work is published by Science Advances.

Carbon is the fourth-most– in the universe and is fundamental to life as we know it. It is unrivaled in its ability to form stable structures, both alone and with other elements.

A material’s properties are determined by how its are bonded and the structural arrangements that these bonds create. For -based materials, the type of bonding makes the difference between the hardness of diamond, which has three-dimensional “sp3” bonds, and the softness of graphite, which has two-dimensional “sp2” bonds, for example.

Jan 10, 2020

Brookhaven Lab chosen as site for multibillion-dollar collider

Posted by in categories: economics, employment, particle physics

A multibillion-dollar high-speed atom smasher — an electron-ion collider that is capable of dissecting the mysterious subatomic material that forms the basis of everything in the universe — will be built at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, federal authorities announced Thursday.

The collider will be the first of its kind in the United States. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said it would create about 4,000 construction jobs, retain 1,000 existing jobs at the lab and generate billions of dollars in economic activity for Long Island.

Officials with the U.S. Department of Energy said construction of the federally funded collider — which would be 2.4 miles in circumference, or 60% larger than the 1.5-mile Belmont Park horse race track, and one story underground — would cost $1.6 billion to $2.6 billion and take about a decade.

Jan 9, 2020

China is making drones that use quantum physics to send unhackable messages

Posted by in categories: drones, particle physics, quantum physics

Particles can carry information securely because intercepting them would alter the message and alert the receiver or sender.

Jan 5, 2020

New Particle Accelerator Fits on a Silicon Chip

Posted by in categories: computing, particle physics

The device uses lasers to accelerate electrons along an etched channel.

Jan 5, 2020

False Alarm: The So-Called ‘Angel Particle’ Is Still a Mystery

Posted by in categories: computing, particle physics, quantum physics

A 2017 report of the discovery of a particular kind of Majorana fermion — the chiral Majorana fermion, referred to as the “angel particle” — is likely a false alarm, according to new research. Majorana fermions are enigmatic particles that act as their own antiparticle and were first hypothesized to exist in 1937. They are of immense interest to physicists because their unique properties could allow them to be used in the construction of a topological quantum computer.

A team of physicists at Penn State and the University of Wurzburg in Germany led by Cui-Zu Chang, an assistant professor of physics at Penn State studied over three dozen devices similar to the one used to produce the angel particle in the 2017 report. They found that the feature that was claimed to be the manifestation of the angel particle was unlikely to be induced by the existence of the angel particle. A paper describing the research appears on January 3, 2020 in the journal Science.

“When the Italian physicist Ettore Majorana predicted the possibility of a new fundamental particle which is its own antiparticle, little could he have envisioned the long-lasting implications of his imaginative idea.”

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Jan 4, 2020

Scientists Find Evidence a Strange Group of Quantum Particles Are Basically Immortal

Posted by in categories: life extension, particle physics, quantum physics

Nothing lasts forever. Humans, planets, stars, galaxies, maybe even the Universe itself, everything has an expiration date. But things in the quantum realm don’t always follow the rules. Scientists have found that quasiparticles in quantum systems could be effectively immortal.

That doesn’t mean they don’t decay, which is reassuring. But once these quasiparticles have decayed, they are able to reorganise themselves back into existence, possibly ad infinitum.

This seemingly flies right in the face of the second law of thermodynamics, which asserts that entropy in an isolated system can only move in an increasing direction: things can only break down, not build back up again.

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Jan 4, 2020

Clusters of gold atoms form peculiar pyramidal shape

Posted by in categories: food, particle physics, quantum physics

Clusters composed of a few atoms tend to be spherical. They are usually organized in shells of atoms around a central atom. This is the case for many elements, but not for gold! Experiments and advanced computations have shown that freestanding clusters of twenty gold atoms take on a pyramidal shape. They have a triangular ground plane made up of ten neatly arranged atoms, with additional triangles of six and three atoms, topped by a single atom.

The remarkable tetrahedral structure has now been imaged for the first time with a scanning tunnelling microscope. This high-tech microscope can visualise single atoms. It operates at extremely low temperatures (269 degrees below zero) and uses quantum tunnelling of an electrical current from a sharp scanning metallic tip through the cluster and into the support. Quantum tunnelling is a process where electrical current flows between two conductors without any physical contact between them.

The researchers used intense plasmas in a complex vacuum chamber setup to sputter gold atoms from a macroscopic piece of gold. “Part of the sputtered atoms grow together to small particles of a few up to a few tens of atoms, due to a process comparable with condensation of water molecules to droplets,” says Zhe Li, the main author of the paper, currently at the Harbin Institute of Technology, Shenzhen. “We selected a beam of clusters consisting of exactly twenty gold atoms. We landed these species with one of the triangular facets onto a substrate covered with a very thin layer of kitchen salt (NaCl), precisely three atom layers thick.”

The study also revealed the peculiar electronic structure of the small gold pyramid. Similar to noble gas atoms or aromatic molecules, the cluster only has completely filled electron orbitals, which makes them much less reactive than clusters with one or a few atoms more or less.

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Jan 2, 2020

There’s a Giant Mystery Hiding Inside Every Atom in the Universe

Posted by in categories: particle physics, space

No one really knows what happens inside an atom. But two competing groups of scientists think they’ve figured it out. And both are racing to prove that their own vision is correct.

Here’s what we know for sure: Electrons whiz around “orbitals” in an atom’s outer shell. Then there’s a whole lot of empty space. And then, right in the center of that space, there’s a tiny nucleus — a dense knot of protons and neutrons that give the atom most of its mass. Those protons and neutrons cluster together, bound by what’s called the strong force. And the numbers of those protons and neutrons determine whether the atom is iron or oxygen or xenon, and whether it’s radioactive or stable.

Jan 2, 2020

The Universe May Be Flooded with a Cobweb Network of Invisible Strings

Posted by in categories: particle physics, quantum physics

During one of these phase transitions (which happened when the universe was less than a second old), the axions of string theory didn’t appear as particles. Instead, they looked like loops and lines — a network of lightweight, nearly invisible strings crisscrossing the cosmos.

This hypothetical axiverse, filled with a variety of lightweight axion strings, is predicted by no other theory of physics but string theory. So, if we determine that we live in an axiverse, it would be a major boon for string theory.

How can we search for these axion strings? Models predict that axion strings have very low mass, so light won’t bump into an axion and bend, or axions likely wouldn’t mingle with other particles. There could be millions of axion strings floating through the Milky Way right now, and we wouldn’t see them.

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