Archive for the ‘particle physics’ category

Oct 23, 2021

Scientists Say They’ve Created a “Strange” New State of Matter

Posted by in categories: particle physics, space

Scientists at the University of Chicago say that they’ve successfully created a “strange” new state of matter in the laboratory called “superionic ice” — and that the stuff might already exist inside planets in our solar system.

“It was a surprise — everyone thought this phase wouldn’t appear until you are at much higher pressures than where we first find it,” co-author and University of Chicago researcher Vitali Prakapenka said in a press blurb. “But we were able to very accurately map the properties of this new ice, which constitutes a new phase of matter, thanks to several powerful tools.”

Prakapenka’s team used a particle acclerator to fire electons between two pieces of diamond, creating unfathomable pressures of 20 gigapascals in a sample of water and causing it to form an entirely new structure that reverted when they relieved the pressure.

Oct 23, 2021

Physicists Have Created a New State of Matter. With Four Electrons?

Posted by in categories: materials, particle physics

The iron-based superconductor material, Ba1−xKxFe2As2. Vadim Grinenko, Federico Caglieris/KTH Royal Institute of Technology

Twenty years ago, scientists first predicted electron quadruplets. Now, KTH Professor Egor Babaev, with the aid of international collaborators, has revealed evidence of fermion quadrupling in a series of experimental measurements on the iron-based material, Ba 1−x Kx Fe 2 As 2.

This is the first-ever experimental evidence of this quadrupling effect and the mechanism by which this state of matter occurs.

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Oct 23, 2021

New Physics: Latest Results From Cern Further Boost Tantalising Evidence

Posted by in categories: cosmology, particle physics

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) sparked worldwide excitement in March as particle physicists reported tantalising evidence for new physics — potentially a new force of nature. Now, our new result, yet to be peer reviewed, from Cern’s gargantuan particle collider seems to be adding further support to the idea.

Our current best theory of particles and forces is known as the standard model, which describes everything we know about the physical stuff that makes up the world around us with unerring accuracy. The standard model is without doubt the most successful scientific theory ever written down and yet at the same time we know it must be incomplete.

Famously, it describes only three of the four fundamental forces – the electromagnetic force and strong and weak forces, leaving out gravity. It has no explanation for the dark matter that astronomy tells us dominates the universe, and cannot explain how matter survived during the big bang. Most physicists are therefore confident that there must be more cosmic ingredients yet to be discovered, and studying a variety of fundamental particles known as beauty quarks is a particularly promising way to get hints of what else might be out there.

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Oct 23, 2021

Controlling light with a material three atoms thick

Posted by in categories: computing, mobile phones, particle physics

Most of us control light all the time without even thinking about it, usually in mundane ways: we don a pair of sunglasses and put on sunscreen, and close—or open—our window blinds.

But the control of can also come in high-tech forms. The screen of the computer, tablet, or phone on which you are reading this is one example. Another is telecommunications, which controls light to create signals that carry data along .

Scientists also use high-tech methods to control light in the laboratory, and now, thanks to a new breakthrough that uses a specialized material only three atoms thick, they can control light more precisely than ever before.

Oct 23, 2021

Skyrmions can fly!

Posted by in categories: information science, nanotechnology, particle physics

Topology in optics and photonics has been a hot topic since 1,890 where singularities in electromagnetic fields have been considered. The recent award of the Nobel prize for topology developments in condensed matter physics has led to renewed surge in topology in optics with most recent developments in implementing condensed matter particle-like topological structures in photonics. Recently, topological photonics, especially the topological electromagnetic pulses, hold promise for nontrivial wave-matter interactions and provide additional degrees of freedom for information and energy transfer. However, to date the topology of ultrafast transient electromagnetic pulses had been largely unexplored.

In their paper Nat. Commun., physicists in the UK and Singapore report a new family of pulses, the exact solutions of Maxwell’s equation with toroidal topology, in which topological complexity can be continuously controlled, namely supertoroidal topology. The in such supertoroidal pulses have skyrmionic structures as they propagate in free space with the speed of light.

Skyrmions, sophisticated topological particles originally proposed as a unified model of the nucleon by Tony Skyrme in 1,962 behave like nanoscale magnetic vortices with spectacular textures. They have been widely studied in many condensed matter systems, including chiral magnets and liquid crystals, as nontrivial excitations showing great importance for information storing and transferring. If skyrmions can fly, open up infinite possibilities for the next generation of informatics revolution.

Oct 22, 2021

Experiments confirm a quantum material’s unique response to circularly polarized laser light

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, computing, particle physics, quantum physics

When the COVID-19 pandemic shut down experiments at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory early last year, Shambhu Ghimire’s research group was forced to find another way to study an intriguing research target: quantum materials known as topological insulators, or TIs, which conduct electric current on their surfaces but not through their interiors.

Denitsa Baykusheva, a Swiss National Science Foundation Fellow, had joined his group at the Stanford PULSE Institute two years earlier with the goal of finding a way to generate high harmonic generation, or HHG, in these materials as a tool for probing their behavior. In HHG, shining through a material shifts to higher energies and higher frequencies, called harmonics, much like pressing on a guitar string produces higher notes. If this could be done in TIs, which are promising building blocks for technologies like spintronics, quantum sensing and quantum computing, it would give scientists a new tool for investigating these and other quantum materials.

With the experiment shut down midway, she and her colleagues turned to theory and computer simulations to come up with a new recipe for generating HHG in topological insulators. The results suggested that circularly polarized light, which spirals along the direction of the laser beam, would produce clear, unique signals from both the conductive surfaces and the interior of the TI they were studying, bismuth selenide—and would in fact enhance the signal coming from the surfaces.

Oct 22, 2021

New photonic chip for isolating light may be key to miniaturizing quantum devices

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

Light offers an irreplaceable way to interact with our universe. It can travel across galactic distances and collide with our atmosphere, creating a shower of particles that tell a story of past astronomical events. Here on earth, controlling light lets us send data from one side of the planet to the other.

Given its broad utility, it’s no surprise that light plays a critical role in enabling 21st century quantum information applications. For example, scientists use to precisely control atoms, turning them into ultra-sensitive measures of time, acceleration, and even gravity. Currently, such early quantum technology is limited by size—state-of-the-art systems would not fit on a dining room table, let alone a chip. For practical use, scientists and engineers need to miniaturize , which requires re-thinking certain components for harnessing light.

Now IQUIST member Gaurav Bahl and his research group have designed a simple, compact photonic circuit that uses to rein in light. The new study, published in the October 21 issue of the journal Nature Photonics, demonstrates a powerful way to isolate, or control the directionality of light. The team’s measurements show that their approach to isolation currently outperforms all previous on-chip alternatives and is optimized for compatibility with atom-based sensors.

Oct 21, 2021

Physicists May Have Discovered ‘New Force of Nature’ in LHC Experiment

Posted by in category: particle physics

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) sparked worldwide excitement in March as particle physicists reported tantalizing evidence for new physics – potentially a new force of nature.

Now, our new result, yet to be peer reviewed, from CERN’s gargantuan particle collider seems to be adding further support to the idea.

Our current best theory of particles and forces is known as the standard model, which describes everything we know about the physical stuff that makes up the world around us with unerring accuracy.

Continue reading “Physicists May Have Discovered ‘New Force of Nature’ in LHC Experiment” »

Oct 21, 2021

Team measures the breakup of a single chemical bond

Posted by in categories: chemistry, particle physics

The team used a high-resolution atomic force microscope (AFM) operating in a controlled environment at Princeton’s Imaging and Analysis Center. The AFM probe, whose tip ends in a single copper atom, was moved gradually closer to the iron-carbon bond until it was ruptured. The researchers measured the mechanical forces applied at the moment of breakage, which was visible in an image captured by the microscope. A team from Princeton University, the University of Texas-Austin and ExxonMobil reported the results in a paper published Sept. 24 in Nature Communications.

“It’s an incredible image—being able to actually see a single small molecule on a surface with another one bonded to it is amazing,” said coauthor Craig Arnold, the Susan Dod Brown Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and director of the Princeton Institute for the Science and Technology of Materials (PRISM).

“The fact that we could characterize that particular , both by pulling on it and pushing on it, allows us to understand a lot more about the nature of these kinds of bonds—their strength, how they interact—and this has all sorts of implications, particularly for catalysis, where you have a molecule on a surface and then something interacts with it and causes it to break apart,” said Arnold.

Oct 21, 2021

Did we discover a new force of nature? New results from CERN

Posted by in category: particle physics

Beauty quarks are unstable, living on average just for about 1.5 trillionths of a second before decaying into other particles. The way beauty quarks decay can be strongly influenced by the existence of other fundamental particles or forces. When a beauty quark decays, it transforms into a set of lighter particles, such as electrons, through the influence of the weak force. One of the ways a new force of nature might make itself known to us is by subtly changing how often beauty quarks decay into different types of particles.

The March paper was based on data from the LHCb experiment, one of four giant particle detectors that record the outcome of the ultra-high-energy collisions produced by the LHC. (The “b” in LHCb stands for “beauty”.) It found that beauty quarks were decaying into electrons and their heavier cousins called muons at different rates. This was truly surprising because, according to the standard model, the muon is basically a carbon copy of the electron – identical in every way except for being around 200 times heavier. This means that all the forces should pull on electrons and muons with equal strength – when a beauty quark decays into electrons or muons via the weak force, it ought to do so equally often.

Instead, my colleagues found that the muon decay was only happening about 85% as often as the electron decay. Assuming the result is correct, the only way to explain such an effect would be if some new force of nature that pulls on electrons and muons differently is interfering with how beauty quarks decay.

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