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Archive for the ‘particle physics’ category

Jun 26, 2020

Crews create a blast to take the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment to the next stage

Posted by in categories: particle physics, space

It started with a blast.

On June 23, construction company Kiewit Alberici Joint Venture set off explosives 3,650 feet beneath the surface in Lead, South Dakota, to begin creating space for the international Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment, hosted by the Department of Energy’s Fermilab.

The blast is the start of underground activity for the experiment, known as DUNE, and the infrastructure that powers and houses it, called the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility, or LBNF.

Jun 26, 2020

CERN experiment makes first observation of rare events producing three massive force carriers

Posted by in categories: cosmology, particle physics

Modern physics knows a great deal about how the universe works, from the grand scale of galaxies down to the infinitesimally small size of quarks and gluons. Still, the answers to some major mysteries, such as the nature of dark matter and origin of gravity, have remained out of reach.

Caltech physicists and their colleagues using the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland, the largest and most powerful particle accelerator in existence, and its Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment have made a new observation of very that could help take physics beyond its current understanding of the world.

The new observation involves the simultaneous production of three W or Z bosons, subatomic “mediator particles” that carry the weak force—one of the four known —which is responsible for the phenomenon of radioactivity as well as an essential ingredient in the sun’s thermonuclear processes.

Jun 25, 2020

Physicist Believes He Has What It Takes to Make a Gamma Ray Laser

Posted by in category: particle physics

A scientist in California has taken steps toward a long-sought gamma ray laser by harnessing positronium bubbles in special liquid helium. Positronium is a volatile, short-lived atom that seems kind of like hydrogen but has a positron—an antiparticle considered opposite to an electron, sometimes even called an antielectron—instead of a proton.

Holding positronium in liquid helium extends its viable stability, a relationship that’s decades old: “Positronium’s long lifetime in liquid helium was first reported in 1957,” says the press release, which links to a paper by physicist Richard A. Ferrell about the “reduced pickoff” positronium experiences when it can form a bubble inside liquid helium.

Jun 24, 2020

Quantum recurrence: Everything goes back to the way it was

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

It is one of the most astonishing results of physics: when a complex system is left alone, it will return to its initial state with almost perfect precision. Gas particles, for example, chaotically swirling around in a container, will return almost exactly to their starting positions after some time. This “Poincaré Recurrence Theorem” is the foundation of modern chaos theory. For decades, scientists have investigated how this theorem can be applied to the world of quantum physics. Now, researchers at TU Wien (Vienna) have successfully demonstrated a kind of “Poincaré recurrence” in a multi-particle quantum system. The results have been published in the journal Science.

An Old Question, Revisited

At the end of the 19th century, the French scientist Henri Poincaré studied systems which cannot be fully analysed with perfect precision — for example solar systems consisting of many planets and asteroids, or gas particles, which keep bumping into each other. His surprising result: every state which is physically possible will be occupied by the system at some point — at least to a very good degree of approximation. If we just wait long enough, at some point all planets will form a straight line, just by coincidence. The gas particles in a box will create interesting patterns, or go back to the state in which they were when the experiment started.

Jun 24, 2020

Physicists Peer Inside a Fireball of Quantum Matter

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

A gold wedding band will melt at around 1,000 degrees Celsius and vaporize at about 2,800 degrees, but these changes are just the beginning of what can happen to matter. Crank up the temperature to trillions of degrees, and particles deep inside the atoms start to shift into new, non-atomic configurations. Physicists seek to map out these exotic states — which probably occurred during the Big Bang, and are believed to arise in neutron star collisions and powerful cosmic ray impacts — for the insight they provide into the cosmos’s most intense moments.

Now an experiment in Germany called the High Acceptance DiElectron Spectrometer (HADES) has put a new point on that map.

For decades, experimentalists have used powerful colliders to crush gold and other atoms so tightly that the elementary particles inside their protons and neutrons, called quarks, start to tug on their new neighbors or (in other cases) fly free altogether. But because these phases of so-called “quark matter” are impenetrable to most particles, researchers have studied only their aftermath. Now, though, by detecting particles emitted by the collision’s fireball itself, the HADES collaboration has gotten a more direct glimpse of the kind of quark matter thought to fill the cores of merging neutron stars.

Continue reading “Physicists Peer Inside a Fireball of Quantum Matter” »

Jun 24, 2020

Is Another Monster Particle Accelerator Really Such a Good Idea?

Posted by in category: particle physics

The governing council of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known internationally as CERN, wants to build a brand new, bigger-than-ever $23.6 billion particle collider. At one time, CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) made news for costing a mere $5 billion. Is the escalating cost of these colliders worth it for the research scientists are able to do?

At least one prominent physicist says no. Sabine Hossenfelder, a theoretical physicist at the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies, argues in Scientific American that bigger and bigger particle collider schemes have run out of room to make meaningful progress.

Jun 24, 2020

Saharan dust drifting toward Colorado

Posted by in categories: particle physics, space

Dust is on the way to the United States this week making the more than 6,000-mile journey from the Sahara Desert.

This might seem to work against typical weather patterns, but dust in the United States from the Sahara happens every year. While it may not be abnormal to see the Saharan dust make its annual journey to the United States, we are expected to see more of it than usual.

Tiny individual dust particles combine to make a large plume so big that it can be picked up on satellite images and even be seen from the International Space Station.

Jun 23, 2020

Speeding-Up Quantum Computing Using Giant Atomic Ions – 100 Million Times Larger Than Normal Atoms

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

Trapped Rydberg ions can be the next step towards scaling up quantum computers to sizes where they can be practically usable, a new study in Nature shows.

Different physical systems can be used to make a quantum computer. Trapped ions that form a crystal have led the research field for years, but when the system is scaled up to large ion crystals this method gets very slow. Complex arithmetic operations cannot be performed fast enough before the stored quantum information decays.

A Stockholm University research group may have solved this problem by using giant Rydberg ions, 100 million times larger than normal atoms or ions. These huge ions are highly interactive and, therefore, can exchange quantum information in less than a microsecond.

Continue reading “Speeding-Up Quantum Computing Using Giant Atomic Ions – 100 Million Times Larger Than Normal Atoms” »

Jun 23, 2020

‘Janus’ nanorods convert light to heat that can destroy pollutants in water

Posted by in categories: chemistry, engineering, health, nanotechnology, particle physics, sustainability

With a new nanoparticle that converts light to heat, a team of researchers has found a promising technology for clearing water of pollutants.

Trace amounts of contaminants such as pesticides, pharmaceuticals and perfluorooctanoic acid in drinking water sources have posed significant health risks to humans in recent years. These micropollutants have eluded conventional treatment processes, but certain chemical processes that typically involve ozone, hydrogen peroxide or UV light have proven effective. These processes, however, can be expensive and energy-intensive.

A new nanoparticle created by Yale University engineers as part of an effort for the Rice-based Nanosystems Engineering Research Center for Nanotechnology-Enabled Water Treatment (NEWT) could lead to technologies that get around those limitations. The particle is described in a study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Jun 20, 2020

Possible first detection of axion particle

Posted by in categories: cosmology, particle physics

Physicists at the XENON dark matter research facility report an ‘excess’ of 53 events, which may hint at the existence of hypothetical solar axion particles. Other possibilities for the anomalous detection include a surprisingly large magnetic moment for neutrinos, and tritium contamination in the detector.

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